Cameras weren't allowed during the triple murder trial of Steven Hayes. But thousands across Connecticut and the world were given a play by play of the often gruesome details of the case as they happened through the social media site Twitter.
Reporters "tweeted" every development, every objection, even telling followers what families of the victims were wearing, and when the court was breaking for lunch. Followers learned the guilty verdicts
Now lawyers for the second defendant in the case, Joshua Komisarjevsky, want a judge to ban electronic devices from their client's upcoming trial for allegedly killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11 during a 2007 home invasion. Since reporters use Blackberrys, laptops and iPads to get their messages out on Twitter, banning those devices would stop their ability to "tweet" from the trial.
"The media's broadcasting from the courtroom included, among other things, the names of the minor victims and detailed descriptions of evidence concerning the sexual offense charges -- reporting that we believe was inaccurate or misleading as it concerned Mr. Komisarjevsky," the lawyers stated in a motion Friday.
In one section of the motion, Komisarjevsky's lawyers say the media joined forces to promote the case on Twitter by using hash tags, the practice of adding a # symbol to a word that helps Twitter users search for a topic. "The media's use of "#Hayes" when making Twitter broadcasts was fairly common," the motion stated. "It appears that media members who broadcast via Twitter undertook a concerted effort to drive up interest in the Hayes trial."
Judge Jon C. Blue, who allowed "tweeting" from the Hayes trial, is presiding over Komisarjevsky's trial as well. Lawyers also filed a motion to have Blue removed from the case.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin March 14.