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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Tweets Rulings 38

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the 2-cnts-mrdr-2nd-dgree dept.
Landing an accepted submission, notanymore writes "The PA Supreme Court now has a Twitter account to post rulings and opinions. How could this be a bad thing? It's progression toward making public information more easily accessible. Some argue that it's public shaming but isn't it the same as a newspaper reporting on local crime?"
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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Tweets Rulings

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  • court is paid for by tax dollars, but the ruling is posted to a privately own service that could be monetized. is this a good thing?

    • Re:monetize ? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Col. Klink (retired) (11632) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @03:57PM (#37753912)

      Newspapers are privately owned, too.

    • by Desler (1608317)

      Because newspapers are not privately owned nor monetized? Are you an idiot?

      • Because newspapers are not privately owned nor monetized? Are you an idiot?

        I think the difference is that the court is posting to twitter, rather than an employee of a newspaper reporting the information. Doesn't really matter much as long as the tweets don't replace some other kind of transparency process the court was using.

        I could see some twitter competitor potentially suing the court for giving twitter an unfair advantage or something along those lines.

    • by bws111 (1216812)

      All they are posting are links to their own website. What is the problem?

    • by spidercoz (947220)
      really living up to your handle there, pal
    • by IP_Troll (1097511)
      Anything that makes court opinions more accessible is a good thing. Your concern about "privately owned services" is about 200 years too late and ignorant of the way court opinions are presently published.

      The present system is WestLaw Lexis or another legal publishing company publishes decisions of note, i.e. only decision that change something in the law. Your average case is never published. You have to pay major money to get access to this material.

      The courts do store decisions but in such a difficu
      • This is amazing me. Justices don't write their decisions in pencil, right? So how hard is it to PDF the decision and upload it somewhere?

        These legacy locks the Old Boys have on content are amazing. I can see some of the exhibits waiting, but the court decision should be a snap. It's like "Select all court decisions this month --> Convert to PDF". The day someone break the bar's lock on pricing is the day we get fairness in law.

        • by glodime (1015179)

          http://www.aopc.org/T/SupremeCourt/SupremePostings.htm [aopc.org]

          It looks like the State of Pennsylvania does this. (Though they do limit the searches to separate types of court, e.g. Supreme Court vs Commonwealth Court rulings).

        • by petman (619526)

          So how hard is it to PDF the decision and upload it somewhere?

          As hard as ignoring the legal fraternity lobby who would rather people pay them to look up information in legal documents rather than download it for free from the net.

        • by julesh (229690)

          So how hard is it to PDF the decision and upload it somewhere?

          Right. Here in the UK, our supreme court publishes all of its decisions on its own web site [supremecourt.gov.uk], and they are typically up within a day or two. Why do other courts not do the same thing?

  • by dkt5 (644128)

    These are just links to rulings and opinions on the courts web site, not tweeting the actual details. Nothing to see here. The information itself is as accessible as it always was, although they have provided a marginally more convenient way to access it as soon as it is posted.

  • Will they be also tweeting things like "the opinion of this court is not available to Public" [boingboing.net]?

    People who want to cheer the downfall of the USA, you can cheer, the soul of that country as envisioned by its founder is dead.

    On another topic, Twitter. Bullshit artificial limitation (yeah yeah length of an SMS. What percentage of Twitterers actually use SMS instead of fancy-schmanscy smartphone anyway?) but popular because everyone else is using it...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm looking forward more to things like:

      @victimsfamily Guilty! lol ;-) #lethimfry

    • by snowgirl (978879)

      Will they be also tweeting things like "the opinion of this court is not available to Public" [boingboing.net]?

      ... as a detainee in Guantanamo Bay, I don't find it unlikely that a court ruling (which go to great details explaining their ruling) could contain secret or top secret government information, and as such, in fully appropriate application of law, the opinion of a court concerning national security, and/or secret and top secret government information could totally be classified itself.

  • there is a huge difference between the government and a 3rd party. For one, the judicial system already makes the ruling public, but does not broadcast so why the change. Generally, it has been the job of enterprising individuals to make news and broadcast(newspapers/bloggers). Does the courts lambasting someone through amplification of their communication fall under cruel and unusual? The question I would have is why broadcasting is necessary for the courts as it really has nothing to do with their role.

    • by Desler (1608317)

      How is posting a link to their webpage "lambasting" someone?

    • How is this lambasting someone? It's public information. This information is available already as you say via other broadcast media. With the exception of accounts getting hacked, surely this ensures a degree of unbiased information. How is that a bad thing?

  • by RobinEggs (1453925) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @04:06PM (#37754028)
    Supreme Courts don't examine criminal cases to determine the Truth. They almost never examine them for anything but findings of law: was the case tried in good accordance with all criminal and trial laws that applied? If they think it was, the lower court rulings stand. If they think it wasn't, they direct the lower court to retry the case or some such thing. Supreme Court decisions don't examine or comment on whether the accused is guilty or innocent, and they don't even care 'what really happened' or 'who the real killer was'.

    As such it's awfully difficult to imagine many cases in which their decisions could bring shame to anyone except a bad lawyer.
  • Computerized ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jc42 (318812) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @04:14PM (#37754132) Homepage Journal

    ... isn't it the same as a newspaper reporting on local crime?

    No, because it's done via computer. One of the general rules is that no matter how well something is understood, and how much settled law or custom there is on a topic, as soon as a computer gets involved, all this is forgotten, and everything has to be discussed (and sometimes fought to the death) from scratch.

    We've been through this process a zillion times, every time some traditional activity involves a computer for the first time. The traditional metaphors don't work, because the mere presence of a computer cancels all human memory, and everything we knew must be relearned.

    • Sometimes I think this about privacy and surveillance issues. People argue that a cop watching things on the street corner and a camera on the light post are totally different in every possible way, and the second is absolutely unacceptable.

      Sometimes people get so carried away when technology is involved they ignore the underlying issue, about which they're actually right, and get so lost in techno-bashing that they just sound like Luddite freaks. When it comes to surveillance I don't give a shit about ho
      • by Fned (43219)

        Sometimes I think this about privacy and surveillance issues. People argue that a cop watching things on the street corner and a camera on the light post are totally different in every possible way, and the second is absolutely unacceptable.

        Actually, they ARE different in every possible way, unless the cop is wearing a camera, or the camera is armed and autonomously capable of making arrests.

        If a cop's on the streetcorner, you know who's watching...

  • How do you explain a judgement in an SMS message?

    I could see a Google+ or Facebook page for publishing rulings, but tweets?

    • The summary is inaccurate. This is more like a twitter announcement service. Each post is a link to the actual court document hosted on their own website.

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