Massachusetts Trial Court Policy on Juror Use of Personal Communication Devices

This policy relates to the use of cell phones and other personal communication devices by jurors in courthouses and courtrooms. This is intended to complement the existing security policy on clothing, cameras, and cell phones pdf format of Policy on Clothing, Cameras and Cellular Phones introduced January 9, 2006.

Judges shall instruct jurors selected to serve on a jury that, until their jury service is concluded, they shall not:

(a) discuss the case with others, including other jurors, except as otherwise authorized by the court;
(b) read or listen to any news reports about the case;
(c) use a computer, cellular phone, or other electronic device with communication capabilities, including access to the internet, while in attendance at trial or during jury deliberations. These devices may be used during lunch breaks but may not be used to obtain or disclose information about, or relevant to, the case;
(d) use a computer, cellular phone, or other electronic device with communication capabilities, including access to the internet, or any other methods to obtain or disclose information about, or relevant to, the case when they are not in court.

Departmental Chief Justices may impose a more restrictive policy, including the collection of cell phones and other communication devices while the jury is deliberating. However, for a variety of reasons, cell phones and other communication devices shall not be collected and stored by Associate Court Officers working at the front door screening station.

The judge who greets the jurors in the pool each morning pursuant to G.L. c. 234A, sec. 65, shall inform them about this policy.

Departmental Chief Justices shall work to develop and promulgate whatever procedures are necessary to insure compliance in their department.

Robert A. Mulligan
Chief Justice for
Administration & Management

March 25, 2010