Lawyers Mine Social Media in Vetting Jurors

April 27, 2011  |  

(Businessweek) — When jurors were chosen for the perjury trial of baseball star Barry Bonds last month, they were barred from using social media as they considered the case. Such a ban doesn’t extend to lawyers, who increasingly mine Facebook profiles of jurors to unearth biases that might hurt or help their side.  Facebook, Twitter, and other services have become a major resource for both prosecutors and defense attorneys, letting them glean more insight than they can get from jury questionnaires, says Joseph Rice, chief executive of Jury Research Institute, an Alamo (Calif.)-based trial consultant. “Social media has given us an incredible tool because it’s something jurors voluntarily engage in, and they post information about their activities or affiliations or hobbies,” Rice says. That reveals “their life experience or attitude that may have an impact on how they view the facts of the case.”

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