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Federal Judge Calls Courtroom Tweets Banned Broadcasts Under Rule 53

Posted Nov 9, 2009 7:53 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A federal judge in Georgia has banned reporters from sending live-action tweets from his courtroom, saying that Twitter is a form of broadcasting and hence prohibited under Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

But the ruling by U.S. District Judge Clay Land only extends as far as the courtroom door, suggests the Taking Liberties blog of CBS News: "All an intrepid spectator in Judge Clay Land's courtroom apparently needs to do is write something inside the courtroom, and then step outside before pressing 'send,' " the blog states.

The Volokh Conspiracy provides a link to the judge's four-page order (PDF), which was made last week in response to a request by a Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reporter to tweet about an upcoming trial.

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