Lawyers Doing Real Time Jury Googling

from the not-for-judges-and-juries... dept

There have been questions lately about whether or not it makes sense for jurors and judges 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...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2010 @ 4:12pm

    Obvious Converse

    Have any potential jurors 'googled' attorneys, judges, plaintiffs and defendants while waiting to be questioned?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2010 @ 4:27pm

    Now we all know how to get out of jury duty. Just put pages up that you support both jury nullifcation (that's get the prosecutors to disqualify you) and how you don't believe in any of the foreign-zic crap (who would trust something that's foreign?) and that'll get the defense to drop you.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2010 @ 4:30pm

    a few more lightweight posts, and that nasty kenya pirate party story will disappear off page 1. got for it mike.

    happy friday everyone.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2010 @ 4:33pm

    I ran into something similar to this a few weeks ago where I found a law firm was soliciting input for a "Focus Group" on Craigslist. They asked if they knew anyone out of a group of six or seven names, if you were currently subpoenaed for jury duty, and your pay would be $50 per day. I google'd a few of the names and they were either deceased or entangled in some stuff.

    I thought it was weird, and wish I would have taken a screenshot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2010 @ 4:34pm

    I ran into something similar to this a few weeks ago where I found a law firm was soliciting input for a "Focus Group" on Craigslist. They asked if they knew anyone out of a group of six or seven names, if you were currently subpoenaed for jury duty, and your pay would be $50 per day. I google'd a few of the names, and checked their facebook profiles. They were either recently deceased or entangled in some stuff.

    I thought it was weird, and wish I would have taken a few screenshots.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2010 @ 4:34pm

    I ran into something similar to this a few weeks ago where I found a law firm was soliciting input for a "Focus Group" on Craigslist. They asked if they knew anyone out of a group of six or seven names, if you were currently subpoenaed for jury duty, and your pay would be $50 per day. I google'd a few of the names, and checked their facebook profiles. They were either recently deceased or entangled in some stuff.

    I thought it was weird, and wish I would have taken a few screenshots.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2010 @ 4:35pm

    I ran into something similar to this a few weeks ago where I found a law firm was soliciting input for a "Focus Group" on Craigslist. They asked if they knew anyone out of a group of six or seven names, if you were currently subpoenaed for jury duty, and your pay would be $50 per day. I google'd a few of the names, and checked their facebook profiles. They were either recently deceased or entangled in some stuff.

    I thought it was weird, and wish I would have taken a few screenshots.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2010 @ 4:35pm

    I ran into something similar to this a few weeks ago where I found a law firm was soliciting input for a "Focus Group" on Craigslist. They asked if they knew anyone out of a group of six or seven names, if you were currently subpoenaed for jury duty, and your pay would be $50 per day. I google'd a few of the names, and checked their facebook profiles. They were either recently deceased or entangled in some stuff.

    I thought it was weird, and wish I would have taken a few screenshots.

    Ooops. here it is--
    http://denver.craigslist.org/etc/1798482259.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 9th, 2010 @ 4:39pm

    Re:

    a few more lightweight posts, and that nasty kenya pirate party story will disappear off page 1. got for it mike.


    Nothing lightweight about it, and not trying to make that post disappear. There's nothing wrong with it, as I explained in the comments. Your desire to make a mountain out of absolutely nothing is amusing, but ridiculous.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Ron Rezendes (profile), Jul 9th, 2010 @ 4:40pm

    On trolls and their uselessness....

    When one lives under a rock the whole world is but a stone's throw away. ~Rezendes 07/09/2010

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2010 @ 4:40pm

    Re:

    Perhaps that voice in your head is a ghost? Maybe you should call that ghost buster or his indistinguishable twin.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2010 @ 4:40pm

    Re: Re:

    "Your desire to make a mountain out of absolutely nothing is amusing, but ridiculous." - would you prefer i say "we have already shown that mike is trying to hide something" and point at the post? your own modus operandi back at ya!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2010 @ 4:44pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Seriously, lay off the crack. Those voices in your head aren't ghosts, they're delusions. You don't need to call that ghost buster, just stop taking crack.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Mark Rosch, Jul 9th, 2010 @ 4:53pm

    Re: Obvious Converse

    They do it all the time...and with increasing frequency.

    The kind of research these lawyers are doing is just the tip of the iceberg of what we discuss in our book "Find Info Like a Pro" - published by the ABA. http://bit.ly/9ixlQ3

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2010 @ 4:55pm

    Realtime? What about doing a mock jury before the filing?

    I ran into something similar to this a few weeks ago where I found a law firm was soliciting input for a "Focus Group" on Craigslist. They asked if they knew anyone out of a group of six or seven names, if you were currently subpoenaed for jury duty, and your pay would be $50 per day. I google'd a few of the names, and checked their facebook profiles. They were either recently deceased or other stuff.

    So I guess, if they mounted a case, and could demographically figure out how people would find the defendant ahead of time, they may be able to stack the jury in their favor.

    The ad is still up:
    http://denver.craigslist.org/etc/1798482259.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2010 @ 5:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    i dont do crack, and i have no chance to because you have already used it all up. go away paid troll.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2010 @ 5:19pm

    Realtime? What about doing a mock jury before the filing?

    Found a few more. Apparently this happens a lot.

    This one says "DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION IS REQUESTED SO THAT WE MAY CONSTRUCT JURIES COMPARABLE TO THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF A TYPICAL MISSISSIPPI COUNTY JURY." emphasis not mine.

    http://jonesboro.craigslist.org/etc/1780771387.html


    http://memphis.craigslist.org/csr/ 1770195618.html
    http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/etc/1810862973.html
    http://portland.craigslist.o rg/yam/etc/1833915520.html
    http://boston.craigslist.org/bmw/etc/1805409207.html
    http://newyork.cra igslist.org/mnh/etc/1831800526.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    NullOp, Jul 9th, 2010 @ 7:15pm

    Likewise...

    Likewise we should be background checking the lawyers, especially if you're considering hiring one. What goes around comes around, Mr. Solicitor.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2010 @ 9:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, which drug causes constant absurd paranoia, TAM?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Janey, Jul 10th, 2010 @ 11:01am

    Yes because we all know that nobody on earth has the same name and everything on Google is sooooooo accurate all of the time. Lame.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    DanVan (profile), Jul 10th, 2010 @ 1:01pm

    Eh, some of that could be private information that is not supposed to be public

    Does seem a bit intrusive, imo

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2010 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Realtime? What about doing a mock jury before the filing?

    I think that's part of the problem with trying to pick a jury based on a typical citizen. If you pick them out of a hat you're going to have outliers on various issues since there are so many issues that people disagree with or are unaware of. If you try to statistically control for them the statistical control has to figure out how everyone's general positions on various issues affect how they're going to rule on specific cases and they have to try and determine people's true opinions on issues. Problems with that include people are often undecided, they frequently change their minds on various issues and are more confused than anything, and sometimes people lie to either get out of jury duty or to weigh in on particular cases because they want their opinion imposed on others. Both of these potentially skew the outcome because people who do either of these activities will tend to have a different opinion set than those who don't since most people don't hold many opinions independently of all other opinions. ie: if your opinion is that religion X is true then you tend to hold other opinions similar to others who hold religion X. You can try to statistically correct for these factors but one problem for this is that by the time you gather enough data to do so the opinion demographics would change making some of your old data obsolete. and you also have to trust the motives of those doing the data collection and analysis and you have to trust their methodologies as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 10th, 2010 @ 4:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Well, which drug causes constant absurd paranoia, TAM?"

    To some people, it would seem, oxygen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Ed C., Jul 12th, 2010 @ 2:32am

    The last time I checked my name on Google, it said that some guy with my name is wanted in state that I've never lived in! Since there was no photo, you just know that idiots that try to Google me will think I'm a criminal. Great for getting out of jury duty, BAD for getting a job! (HR people usually rank fairly high that list of idiots...)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 12th, 2010 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Realtime? What about doing a mock jury before the filing?

    Weird, did you run into that six times?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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