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Should You be Using Facebook for Jury Selection?

By Jason Beahm | Last updated on

A new day, a new question: should you use Facebook for jury selection? Tactically speaking, a lot of people are saying yes. If you can legally find out information that could be helpful to seating a favorable jury, do it they say. Others say that the traditional voir dire process is where it should end, and there is something unsavory or even unethical about combining jury duty and Facebook.

Then there is a third group, that of prospective jurors who say, "forget about the dilemma, now all I have to do is post stupid stuff on Facebook and I'll never have to sit on a jury again."

Take an excerpt from a recent article in the Wall Street Journal about a potential juror who posted "strident opinions on a host of issues, and dispensed unsolicited medical and sex advice." That was enough to keep him from landing on a jury.

Social media and the jury system seem to be on a bit of a crash course, and we don't know yet how it will shape out. Steve Martin pretended to tweet from jury duty making light of the subject and the reactions were interesting on all sides.

So where does that leave you as an attorney when it comes to using Facebook in jury selection? At this point, you are wise to stay informed on the subject. If you believe that the practice is ethical and useful for jury selection, have at it. Some legal experts say that information posted on sites like Twitter and Facebook can help determine a potential juror's biases and which way they are likely to decide on the case, the Wall Street Journal reports.

But others disagree. They say that people are often projecting when they post things online. "There are a number people who post who they want to be, as opposed to who they are," said Jason Schultz, co-director of the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley.

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