Social media has also become an important resource for information on potential and actual jurors. However, it has also become a source of consternation when jurors aren’t forthright in voir dire or when they disclose too much via social media during trial, both of which have had dramatic consequences.
Before the days of the internet and Google Earth, private investigators used to drive by jurors’ houses to see what their house looked like, what kind of neighborhood they lived in, and whether they had any bumper stickers on the car or signs on the lawn. The assumption was that these pieces of information would provide some additional insight into jurors’ socioeconomic status, beliefs, and political affiliations. Social media and other online sources like Google provide that same sort of information, plus much more.
This new world of easily-accessible information begs several questions that this article will address. Why should we do this kind of social media research in the first place? What are the rules on how to do it? What do judges think about this kind of research? Do you have to do it?
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