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Aug 19, 2013

Article Analyzes Online Research About Jurors

My latest article, "Virtual Voir Dire: The Law and Ethics of Investigating Jurors Online," has been published in the Spring 2013 issue of the American Journal of Trial Advocacy.


As its title implies, the article discusses and analyzes the legal and ethical issues that arise when attorneys use online resources -- Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. -- to find out information about jurors. (Of course, attorneys may also use these resources to get information about parties, witnesses, judges, and other attorneys.)

Here is the abstract:
The Internet has created a new avenue for gleaning information about potential jurors. A host of concerns, however, accompany this new method of researching the venire. This Article traces the evolution of juror research from traditional means to today’s methods involving the Internet and social media. The author examines the main questions and issues surrounding online research of jurors, including judicial attitudes, courtroom decorum, fairness, juror privacy, accuracy of the information, and potential ethical duties for counsel.

The article concludes,
With the permutation of the Internet as a tool of daily life, it would now be impossible to stop attorneys from using the resources available online to investigate and monitor jurors. Thus it is important to ensure that attorneys’ use of these resources conform with legal and ethical rules applicable to investigation of jurors during [jury selection].

The article is an expansion of a presentation I gave earlier this year at the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University; thanks to Assistant Professor Woody Hartzog for arranging for me to speak there.

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