There have been questions lately about whether or not it makes sense for jurors
to use Google in the court of a trial, but what about lawyers? Obviously, they can use Google in general, but what about in court to do instant Google background checks on potential jurors
. That ABA Journal article notes that lawyers are increasingly making use of the tools to learn about jurors as quickly as possible:
"Last month I had 50 jurors, and as the court clerk read out the names, I had two people in the courtroom and a third person back at the office, with all three of them doing research," says Kiesel, a partner with Kiesel, Boucher & Larson. Junior lawyers also assisted, and Kiesel estimates the social media research for that case cost less than $5,000.
Apparently, in that case, the Google searches turned up some relevant points that caused a juror they otherwise would have accepted to get rejected. However, the article notes that jurors might get creeped out knowing that lawyers were immediately checking them out on Google, and wonders if judges may crack down on the practice (the lawyer quoted in the article insists that there would be no legal basis for a crackdown...). I can't see why it's really a problem. It's not really a privacy issue since they're looking up public information. Either way, it's yet another example of how basic search technology is showing up in the courtroom more and more, even if the courts aren't fully ready for it...