Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ethical Issues Surrounding "Googling" Jurors During Voir Dire

Here is a link to a good article on the increasing use of social media searches of prospective jurors during voir dire and the ethical issues that may arise:


Some judges have prohibited the practice of, basically, lawyers impeaching prospective jurors about their biases and opinions based on blog or Facebook postings.  The article mentions a New Jersey appellate decision that found error where a trial judge prohibited investigating jurors on social media. 

This is an issue that should be addressed by trial judges long before the trial begins so that everyone is aware of the judge's rules.  Since 2011 Missouri has had a rule that counsel has an affirmative duty to disclose to the court prior to jury being sworn that a juror has been a party to litigation which they failed to disclose in voir dire.  Counsel is required to make a reasonable investigation on Case.net as to whether a juror has been a party to a lawsuit.

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