3 years ago California was one of the first states in the country to pass legislation making it a criminal offense for a sitting juror to go online and either research the case or talk about it with others. This week Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB2683 repealing the law.
Apparently, the California Judicial Council was concerned that the new law would inhibit judicial investigations of alleged juror misconduct. Although the judicial council could not cite to any cases where this has occurred, some members of the council believe that jurors might invoke their 5th Amendment right to silence rather than talk about any potential misconduct that they could be prosecuted for.
Members of the judicial council believe that a better approach would be to repeal the current law which still leaves the court the option of punishing jurors with civil contempt. And, unlike the current law, the judge, not the prosecutor, can immunize a juror from civil contempt.
To read the report and recommendations by the judicial council go here.