Another Federal Judge Allows Twitter Coverage of Trial
Posted Feb 24, 2009 11:59 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Another federal judge—this one in Wichita, Kan.--will allow a reporter to cover a trial using the micro-blogging service Twitter.
U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten said Wichita Eagle reporter Ron Sylvester may cover the trial of six accused gang members using Twitter, Sylvester reports at his blog What the Judge Ate for Breakfast. Sylvester has covered state trials using Twitter, but never a trial in federal court, where cameras are banned and media restrictions are more onerous.
Twitter users post updates using no more than 140 characters.
Sylvester is not the first to win such a ruling by a federal judge. Last month a reporter was allowed to cover the tax fraud trial of a landlord in Sioux City, Iowa,using Twitter. Bloggers were also allowed to cover the obstruction trial of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and the trial of five men convicted of plotting to attack Fort Dix.
Marten is a tech-savvy judge who made sure a courthouse renovation included wireless access, Sylvester writes. The Iowa judge who allowed Twitter, Mark Bennett, is also a technology buff; he believes he was probably the first federal judge to have an e-mail address.