U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten told defense counsel that he would allow me to file live posts, via Twitter, from his Wichita courtroom. Twitter is a micro-blogging social network platform that allows users to file and follow short posts of 140 characters or less.
“Twitter is on,” Marten told the lawyers in a brief hearing this afternoon. Marten said he will allow attorneys to file any objections they have for the record.
Marten is tech-savvy, and led efforts to make sure the renovation of the 1932 federal courthouse in Wichita included updates for a wired environment. The courthouse has wireless Internet connections that allow attorneys to access files back at their offices from the courtroom, for example.
I’ve covered several trials, hearings and other proceedings in state court during the past year. But this will be the first time I’ve been allowed to do it in federal court.
Federal court traditionally has tighter rules. For instance, federal courts do not allow cameras, video or audio recording in the courtroom.
“I don’t see this as prejudicial,” Marten said.
Marten will tell jurors not to view news coverage, including the posts on Twitter, which also feed into this blog and accompany related stories on Kansas.com.
Bloggers covered the federal trial of Scooter Libby in Washingon D.C., filing “live updates” while sitting in an adjacent press room in 2007.
A federal judge in Sioux City, Iowa allowed a reporter for the Cedar Rapids, Gazette to live blog a tax fraud trial last year.