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What can Google tell a trial lawyer about you?

Discussion in 'Tech, Gadgets & Science Forum' started by Invisible, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. Invisible

    Invisible Admin Staff Member

    #1
    Sep 16, 2010
    Joined: Feb 11, 2006
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    Sep 16th 2010, by R.L.G. | NEW YORK

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    A NEW JERSEY appeals court has ruled that trial lawyers may, during the voir dire process in which potential jurors are questioned, use Google to read up on said potential jurors. Many courthouses have Wi-Fi these days—there is quite a lot of sitting around doing nothing in courthouses, and it's a godsend. So one enterprising lawyer began seeing if he could find out anything interesting about the jurors in his pool, while actually at the counsel's table. The trial judge was taken aback:
    THE COURT: Are you Googling these [potential jurors]?
    [PLAINTIFFS COUNSEL]: Your Honor, there's no code law that says I'm not allowed to do that. I -- any courtroom --
    THE COURT: Is that what you're doing?
    [PLAINTIFFS COUNSEL]: I'm getting information on jurors -- we've done it all the time, everyone does it. It's not unusual. It's not. There's no rule, no case or any suggestion in any case that says ... .
    THE COURT: No, no, here is the rule. The rule is it's my courtroom and I control it.
    The appeals court disagreed. A case can be made both ways. Would you really want the random things you post in haste on Facebook to be used to judge how you would behave in a lengthy, considered legal process? Would you want to be disqualified (lawyers can exclude a small number of jurors without having to state a reason) for your political opinions? Maybe your opinions on due process or civil rights? It seems to me, from talking to lawyers and also from sitting through voir dire myself, that lawyers like mouldable jurors; the fewer opinions they have coming in, the better. Would Radley Balko or Julian Sanchez ever be selected for a criminal trial?

    The case in favour of allowing googling is a short one. Information wants to be free, and it should require a very good reason to restrict its flow. So perhaps what should be changed is the rule that allows lawyers to reject jurors without stating a reason. Some of those reasons may be unconstitutional—finding someone's religious affiliation unlikely to help your case, say, even though the legal principle is that only evidence of actual bias (not possible or probable bias) can be considered. If there are good reasons for keeping someone out of a jury, let them be stated plain.


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  2. pmwasyoke

    pmwasyoke JF-Expert Member

    #2
    Sep 17, 2010
    Joined: May 27, 2010
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    Google inapunguza sana privacy - ndiyo enzi za dot.com
     
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