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Description: The internet is being seen as a legitimate way to screen  jurors to see if they will benefit a particular case for one side or the other.  There are two sides as the benifits and downsides of using theses technologies in this fashion.


Date: Sept 20, 2011

Questions for discussion:

  1. Do you feel that using this technology in juror searches is legal? Ethical?
  2. If you were given the job to investigate jurors where would you begin and then proceed in your search for ” business intelligence” about the jurors

7 Responses to “Using the Webb to Investigate Jurors”

  1. Brad Christopoulos

    I personally believe that using technology in juror searches is legal and ethical in a certain number of ways. It is legal because the individuals who may be in consideration for being a juror has put up their own information on the internet, and it is in their personal duty if they do not want any outside parties to have access to this information to use the security measures that social media sites allow you to use. Furthermore, it is legal because it is almost the same as some individual looking up their favorite celebrity on the internet, or reading articles online about individuals opinions on certain matters. The reason that this is ethical as well is because in most cases, these jurors who are being screened and looked into are for high profile cases, where the defendant of the trial could face life or death charges. The lawyers want to make sure that these possible jurors do not lean either way with the case, and this is one of the easiest ways to accumulate this information because any individual can lie when under question about where they stand on a specific trial.

  2. Jenny Tashiro

    I think that the process of using the web in juror selection can be ethical and legal as long as they use the information possible jury candidates post in the right way. If they use peoples blogs, facebook, and tweets to eliminate those that have a strong opinion against or for the person on trial, then that allows the jury not be bias going into the case which gives a fair trial to both parties. It is legal, because it’s peoples rights to post whatever opinion they want on the internet and in the same right you are allowed to read what others post. If people didn’t want their opinions known, then they should increase their security by not putting all their thoughts on the net. I think it is also a good idea so you don’t select jurors with an ulterior motive. In a professional setting you can’t always tell who is telling you what you want to hear or who is being themselves, but if you take a look at their facebook, you can see what someone is like in everyday life and if they are wanting their 15 minutes of fame or genuinely want to make society a better place.

  3. Sam Chen

    For my personal opinion, I am struggling with using web to select the juror. I have two considerations for this case in different perspectives. For the government perspective use web to select the juror is good because this new process is easy and convenient (Maybe can also reduce the cost). Government officer can just sit in the office and randomly pick one good citizen to be juror by one click compare to go outside and look for one. It is very different. On the other hand, because of the popular social networking, it is also easy to find the person that other people want on internet (Facebook, twitter, blog…etc.). Moreover, the person’s basic information might also find on the website too (habit, interest, common on some events). This information is useful to analysis one person’s attitude and personality. Therefore, if one person want to find a focus group people he/she can use this information to find the people he/she want which can be benefit for he/she. For example, one person breaks the law and he/she will be judge in front of jurors at a court. Therefore, he/she can start to search the people that are benefit for he/she than he/she can bribe the officer to select the particular people. Clearly, I really have not sure this new process is good or not.

  4. moire

    Investigating jurors is legal and ethical:
    • It is currently legal because a juror can cause an acquittal in a legal case because of information gathered about them via various means including social media sites, blogs, etc. These social media sites and blogs contain information that is considered public. It should continue to be legal because it is important that those who are deciding the legal fait of the accused be of sound mind and able to make objective, unbiased decisions for a fair trial. Social media sites, blog comments etc. give a better indication of a juror’s decision making ability than a well thought out questionnaire the juror must fill out which may be tainted by the jurors unethical intentions to sway the outcome of a trial.
    • It is ethical to make the right decision when trying someone. Making the right decision involves finding people who can make an unbiased, objective decision. If a juror’s ability to make an unbiased, objective decision becomes a point of contention in a case then it threatens finding justice in the case. It is better to know ahead of time, investigate extensively, the juror’s actual background than to later find out about contentious juror behavior that threatens finding justice in the case. The cost implications of acquittals and retrials are high and it is better to eliminate all possibilities of these events beforehand.

  5. brett pudwell

    This topic is very interesting and controversial. Much like wether or not DNA databases should include familial matches, the use of the web to investigate jurors has to be looked at from two sides. On the one hand, having background on all of the potential jurors allows whoever is selecting the jury to select people that they believe will help them get the verdict they are looking for. Looking at it in this light, this would be highly unethical and quite possibly illegal as well. On the other hand, every person in the world has the right to a fair trial, and in the right hands, background information on the jurors can help to weed out and eliminate all potentially biased jury members. It would make sure that there was no bigotry or intolerance among the jury. In this light, it seems both ethical and perfectly legal. Technology has provided us with endless information and with any information it is not the information that matters, but what you do with that information. Honestly, I am for investigating jurors to maintain fair trials but i have little experience or knowledge on the subject.

  6. Pulkit Arora

    I think that using the web for the selection process of jurors is completely legal and ethical unless if used for harmful purposes. Social networking sites such as Facebook, and Twitter should be relied upon because they showcase the accuracy of the person they are trying to search up on. If they just look at professional settings of the person, then they might not get an accurate description of how the person acts and what they believe in. But using social networking sites, they can tell who is being honest and who is saying what others want to hear. If people do not want their information to be read by anyone, then they can increase their security options and they should not post as much stuff on the internet because once it’s on the internet, then anyone can have access to it. To begin my search on jurors, I would start at sites like Facebook or Google to find out their basic background information and how they interact with others on a daily basis. The downside to letting people search others on the internet is when bad people get information that they could use for the wrong reasons. For example, people can find out exactly where and when a person will be by using sites like Facebook and Twitter. Although this is unethical, people have the choice to do so because of the internet.

  7. Kristin Schneider

    In my personal opinion, using this type of technology in juror searches is both perfectly legal and ethical in more ways than one. Using this technology is legal because the individuals themselves who may be considered in a juror position are the ones posting their own information on to the web, once again, themselves. No one is telling these individuals that they can or cannot post their information; therefore it is in the potential jurors hands. If they don’t want anyone having access this information, it is simple enough to just not post it. There is no difference between me looking up John Smith and Brittany Spears on the web, whatever information you find you may or may not choose to believe. This technological process is also ethical for the reason that these potential jurors may be the final decision of a prestigious case, and the decisions made by the jury team could be the matter of life or death for the defendant. The people given this job to investigate jurors, have a responsibility to choose people who are not biased, swing either way, or possibly don’t have any background information on this case. The internet and technology can spill a lot of information about people, and some information that they may not even share themselves.

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