Category: Courtroom Etiquette


Tweeting During Trial Could Land You In Jail!

Author: Lowell Steiger

Published On: October 10, 2011

Well, it’s official.  If you’re doing your civic duty as a juror in California and you Tweet (or Facebook or e-mail or… name your technology) about the trial, you will officially be in criminal contempt of court.  What does that mean to you?  It could mean six months in the klink! Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation on Friday (Assembly Bill 141, authored by Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, D-Los Angeles) which requires trial judges to tell jurors that existing bans on conducting their own research about the case, or talking to outsiders about it, applies to electronic and wireless communication. Violations by jury members will… Read More

Witness Blindness: Memories & Perceptions Not Always Reliable

Author: Lowell Steiger

Published On: June 14, 2010

You may be interested in an article that I came across in A Public Defender, a fascinating blawg. This particular article, Change Blindness and the Fallacy of the All-Remembering Cop, illustrates how faulty a witness’s memory might be. This phenomenon is known as Inattentional Blindness. Watch the short but very eye-opening videos below. The first one illustrates how an eye-witness can easily misidentify an alleged defendant. This, of course, would also apply to eye-witnesses in civil cases misidentifying or not accurately recalling people, places and things involved in an auto accident, slip and fall case, etc. Watch The Door Study by Daniel Simmons. In A Public Defender’s article, he… Read More

Old Lawyers Fight at Deposition: Video

Author: Lowell Steiger

Published On: April 2, 2008

Here’s what not to do at a deposition!!! I’ve been to some pretty contentious depositions but this is a doozy. Get your popcorn and enjoy the ride. Although this is fun to watch, I don’t recommend this type of behavior at a deposition or any legal proceeding — it does not foster good will and certainly impedes progress in one’s case.

Cell Phones in the Courtroom: A Big No-No

Author: Lowell Steiger

Published On: October 28, 2007

I spend a good deal of time in the courtroom. The signs almost unanimously read “No Food, No Gum Chewing, Turn Off All Cell Phones and Pagers.” Most courtrooms have very heavy calendars comprised of a variety of different cases with a plethora of varied issues. In order to facilitate the meting out of justice, a judge must have the ability to focus on each individual matter as though it were the only matter before him. Although in an exalted position, a judge is only human sometimes reacts in a manner which is, well, human. This issue became of interest… Read More

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