The Washington Post

Judge in Jerry Sandusky case cracks down on stealth tweeters

Judge John M. Cleland, who was brought to the county to preside over this high-profile case, has long tried to keep cameras and live-tweeting out of his courtroom. During the June trial, Cleland allowed reporters to have laptops and cellphones in the main courtroom and a satellite courtroom, but the press was not allowed to transmit any information about the trial while court was in session. Sure enough, when the jury returned its verdict, some news outlets reported or tweeted the news long before others, possibly during the proceedings.

This time around, Cleland is adding more rules.

The biggest change is that digital clock, which will be placed at the front of the courtroom. Reporters have been instructed to sync their phones, laptops, tablets and other information-transmitting electronics with the court’s master clock. The court’s adjournment will be noted, and any reporter who transmits information with a timestamp earlier than that time will be busted.

Penalties could include fines or summary incarceration -- and media outlets who republish information prematurely put out by other media outlets could also get into trouble.

In his decorum order issued last week, the judge wrote that at least one reporter may have violated the previous rules by prematurely announcing the verdict.

“Imposing sanctions, however, became problematic because of the difficulty of proving the precise time of transmission in relation to the time announced for adjournment,” Cleland wrote. “The addition of a clock at the front of the courtroom is intended to address this problem.”

Here’s the full order:

I will be blogging and tweeting updates from the sentencing — well, when I can without breaking the rules — so follow me on Twitter, @wpjenna.

Jenna Johnson is a political reporter who is covering the 2016 presidential campaign.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
From clubfoot to climbing: Double amputee lives life of adventure
Learn to make traditional soup dumplings
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Play Videos
Unconventional warfare with a side of ale
The rise and fall of baseball cards
How to keep your child safe in the water
Play Videos
'Did you fall from heaven?': D.C.'s pick-up lines
5 ways to raise girls to be leaders
How much can one woman eat?
Play Videos
How to get organized for back to school
How to buy a car via e-mail
The signature drink of New Orleans