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Will Facebook Become Part of the Jury Selection Process?

District Attorney Armando R. Villalobos of Cameron County, Texas wants to be able to search potential jurors’ Facebook profiles as part of the jury selection process, Gizmodo notes. Currently, jurors must provide names and basic information about employers, religion and children.  Attorneys have the ability to run a quick Google Search on potential jurors via their smartphones in the courtroom.

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Villalobos claims that having access to jurors’ Facebook profiles will reveal more information about them, such as interests, education and work history. Additionally, since people share information more freely on social networks, viewing a juror’s Facebook page will provide a more accurate depiction of that person. He hopes that having more information about potential jurors will lead to selecting a jury that is fair.

While having the most accurate information about potential jurors is important, this plan has two serious pitfalls. On one hand, any intelligent person who values privacy sets privacy settings to block most personal information from public view. On the other hand, an individual that wishes to get out of jury duty may purposely alter his or her profile so that an attorney will not select them.

Guest blogger Ruth Carter is a law student in her final semester at Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

Photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid 

 

Posted by Laurel Newby on January 19, 2011 at 11:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (13)

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