Home > Whatever > Real-time horror: Tweets from the courtroom

Real-time horror: Tweets from the courtroom

In Ontario, Canada, a trial is underway. The criminal is a highly decorated military man, whose perverse crimes are beyond human comprehension. Every single details of his horrific acts are being fed onto my screen by way of tweets and liveblogs as the prosecutors speak, show pictures and video tapes.

This might be the closest I will ever get to sitting in a criminal courtroom in session.

Since 2008, courtrooms across the U.S. have experienced the invasion of social media. Several cases of jurors exploiting FB and Twitter while serving have been reported and debated. Depending on the state, the practice is either banned or allowed.

It is still rare to see news organizations setting up live blogs and tweet pages so reporters can do their job from inside the courtroom as the session unfolds. Last year, there was a case in Iowa. This year, in Colorado.

At this trial I’ve been following, all major Canadian news media were up in arm with liveblog and twitter.

As the result, I got to read such instant updates as follow, as the prosecutor described the actions.

“Bloods from X (the victim’s name) started spilling out on the floor. Blood stains showing here (in the courtroom).”

“He bashed her in the head again and again with the red flashlight. Again, photos in display.”

“Y was having a semi-seizure from the assault as he videotaped her.”


Is journalism more worthy for exploiting technologies to such extent? I read somewhere a reporter said, the matter now is whether you can type fast enough (to get the information out soonest). As reporters, do we HAVE to tweet just because we can?

Before, there’s an army of editors, and there’s a newsroom to ponder things over. Now, twitter lifts all such brakes. Reporters are left with their own conscience amid the battle to be first.


We, as the public, are left with our conscience, too.

The law says we have the rights to know. But, do we need to know right then, right there, every horrific details of a crime? No, we don’t.

At one point, this line appeared on my screen.

“Then Y said (to the killer), if I die, please tell my Mom that I love her.”

I was hit with a rush of guilt — feeling like an intruder to the ultimate pain of the victim’s Mom.


In the end, what do we all gain from such experience? Nothing. A crime is not a movie. Why is there a premiere for it?

What have we become? Or, maybe more properly, what have technologies brought out from us?

Categories: Whatever
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