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Wis. juries to be warned of gadget use in trials

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Wisconsin judges have a new set of jury instruction to caution jurors in criminal trials against using handheld mobile devices to look up facts or communicate about the case.

      The rules were approved last month by a state legal committee, and are advisory. They will be officially published this spring but the Post-Crescent in Appleton reports that state judges already have them.

      Some Wisconsin counties including Dane outright ban possession of cell phones while in a jury pool unless a judge says otherwise.

The statewide guidelines don't go that far but do urge judges to let jurors know that even if their mobile devices give access to information and communication, they shouldn't be used for that.

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      Information from: The Post-Crescent

             (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)