Seeking Juror Information
The American Bar Association says it's ethical for lawyers to scour online for publicly available musings of citizens called for jury service - and even jurors in deliberations. But the ABA does warn lawyers against actively "following" or "friending" jurors or otherwise invading their private Internet areas.
Though judges now universally admonish jurors to refrain from discussing trials on social media, the nationwide lawyers group for the first time is addressing how deeply attorneys, their investigators and their consultants can probe for information that might signal leanings of potential jurors, or unearth juror misconduct during trials.
Jurors' online postings have disrupted many legal proceedings over the years, causing mistrials and special hearings over the effects of Facebook musings, tweets and blog writings about their trial experiences.
The ABA's ethics committee began reviewing the issue about two years ago and concluded in April that looking at Facebook posts twitter feeds and other information gathered passively is ethical research.