Civil Beat is reporting that Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway is allowing them to live-blog during the Aloun Farms trial, which starts Wednesday. In the Aloun Farms case the prosecution accuses the owners of the Farms of keeping numerous Thai immigrants as indentured servants. The case is one of two major human-trafficking cases this year in Hawaii.
Judge Mollway stated that this is not a change in court policy and only applies to this case. However, if Civil Beat lives up to its name and reputation (for investigative and good journalistic practices) it may lead a step toward live-blogging and other social media use in the courtroom by convincing other judges that this is a good thing for justice. More exposure plus utilizing a form of communication that has been widely adopted for business and social purposes puts the spotlight on the justice system, which needs to correct the information gap that exists in society.
I will temper my foregoing enthusiasm with the following comment: information technology is a good thing to share information with society as a whole, the justice system should not be driven to open the floodgates and allow all manner of social media to be used in court. For example, allowing jurors to Tweet and Facebook post is still a very bad thing. However, transparency and informative acts via social media that maintain and that do not dilute the fairness of trial should always be welcomed.
So way to go Civil Beat and great decision Judge Mollway.
For Civil Beat’s article and their letter requesting social media access click here.