Tagged: Jurors

ABA Says that Attorneys May Investigate Jurors’ Social Media Presence, Even if Automatic Notifications are Generated

The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility recently weighed in on the ethical parameters of attorneys’ investigation of jurors’ social media presence. In ABA Formal Opinion 466, the Committee concluded that an attorney may review a juror’s social media presence; an attorney may undertake that review even if the social media website issues a notice to the juror that the attorney viewed his social media profile; and an attorney may not request private access to a juror’s social media profile.

Attorneys’ Use of Social Media to Research Jurors — Another Ethical Land Mine

The New York City Bar Association’s Formal Opinion 2012-2 examines whether ethical restrictions apply to attorneys who use search engines or social media websites for the purpose of researching jurors. While the Opinion does not oppose such research (provided no communication between an attorney and potential or sitting juror occurs), it broadly interprets “communication.” Although a “friend request” would obviously constitute a communication, the Opinion struggles with whether an inadvertent or unknowing notification or message to the juror, which was triggered by the attorney’s attempt to view a page or comments (such as what can occur when one views a person’s LinkedIn™ profile), should also be treated as a communication and thereby prohibited. Ultimately, the Opinion “takes no position” on that issue and instead, cautions attorneys to understand the technology at issue, refrain from engaging in deception to gather information, and promptly report any discoveries of juror misconduct that are gleaned from the research.

Ex-Juror Who “Friended” Defendant Faces Jail for Bragging on Facebook About Dismissal From Jury Duty

By now, attorneys should know to advise their clients to watch out for Friend requests from jurors during a trial. The latest debacle concerning jurors use of social media involves a juror “friending” a party and then bragging about his resulting dismissal from the panel. For that juror, his Facebook antics landed him a three-day jail sentence. Click here and here for additional coverage regarding this incident.

N.J. Judge Dismisses Potential Juror for Attempting to “Friend” Defendant on Facebook

As recently reported by The Press of Atlantic City, on November 4, 2010, the Honorable Raymond Batten, J.S.C., dismissed a potential juror after defense counsel advised that the juror attempted to “friend” his client on Facebook. The potential juror was dismissed from serving in the trial of Atlantic City Councilman Marty Small, LuQuay Zahir and ten others who are accused of voter fraud during the councilman’s unsuccessful bid for mayor in 2009