Could Liking Justin Bieber on Facebook Keep You Off a Jury?
Potential jurors are increasingly being labeled and categorized by their online activities, according to a recent article in the American Bar Association Journal titled "Google Transforms Jury Selection Process."
Photo Credit: Mark Wilkinson
The article states that lawyers surreptitiously searching sites to uncover the personal details of potential jurors are sparking a privacy debate that's raising questions about whether this social media vetting process is getting enough court supervision.
"Jurors are like icebergs -- only 10 percent of them is what you see in court," said Jason Bloom, a Dallas-based jury consultant in the article.
According to a recent ABA Journal online post, Cameron County, Texas prosecutors are actually using iPads in the court room to search the Facebook profiles of potentials jurors. That means when you are in a jury pool Big Brother isn't only watching, he's sitting about three rows in front of you. Rueters Legal has labeled the process "voir Google" instead of "voir dire."
Court rules on the topic of online vetting of jurors are either non-existent or murkey in courts as technology is outpacing the rules-setting process with smart phones and tablet computers. Information is instantly available to and from today's court.
So, the next time you decide to post on Facebook just how irritated you were when that police officer gave you an unfair ticket, keep in mind that the assistant district attorney might be reading that post the next time you are sitting in a jury pool.