Jury consultants checking out potential jurors online

By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

For some reason, I have managed to avoid jury duty up to now.   Maybe it’s the fact that I have moved around so much in my life and lived in so many countries.    But if I ever decide to settle back in the United Kingdom permanently, I’ll be sure to get my online information in order right away.   That’s because jury consultants are apparently now checking out potential jurors using the internet.

One of the main things they are looking for is if you have spoken out on any important issues.   So if I ended up being considered for a jury for example, they might look at my articles on this website to see if I have expressed any opinions on any particular subjects (let’s hope any RIAA lawyers aren’t checking up on me!).   Or they may Google my name to see if I have written any letters to a newspaper editor on any important subjects.   They may also check my Facebook account to see if I am friends or relations with anyone else in the jury pool.

There’s so much information about us online that a jury consultant’s job is so much easier these days than it used to be.   Everything is available by search engine or social network.   People write blogs or maintain websites.   They write letters to newspapers and they operate online businesses.    They socialise via Twitter or Friendfeed.    Whether people realise it or not, they are leaving so many footprints behind for a future lawyer or jury consultant to pick up and question them with later.

So the next time you are being questioned for a jury and you are asked a question, think twice before lying – the lawyer may be a subscriber to your Twitter feed!

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One Response to Jury consultants checking out potential jurors online

  1. Background checks of jury candidates are nothing new. Jury consultants have been around a long time and are essential for major cases.

    Using the Internet to ferret out potentially biased jurors could be a useful tool in the voir dire process, provided the identities are accurate. It all sounds a bit intrusive perhaps, but employers, credit agencies, insurance companies, etc. are already checking people out online. Your online postings are fair game.

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