On July 7, 2015, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopted new Rules of Criminal Procedure, and revised and renumbered other Rules, to provide for instructions to prospective and selected jurors concerning the use of personal electronic devices during their service. Jurors are prohibited from using such devices for communication or to conduct independent research on a case. The rule changes provide for clear instructions to be given to jurors upon their first interaction with the court and at various stages of the proceedings. Judges are authorized to hold a juror in contempt for violating the rules and confiscate a device. The Criminal Procedural Rules Committee’s Final Report details these rule changes, which are effective October 1, 2015.
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