By: Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm -
Attorneys engaged in the process of jury selection have always been eager to uncover as much information as the judge allows through questionnaires and oral examination in court. For that reason, it isn't surprising to most potential jurors that the lawyers are trying to get a sense of any strongly held opinions or experiences that may bear on their case. But it is apparently more surprising that lawyers are now relying on a wealth of online information to supplement that picture. I recently spoke with Nina Sparano on Fox 31 in Denver about the perceptions surrounding this practice. The gist of the comments from me and attorney Bill Taylor are that the practice of locating online information for jurors is common, and the result can help inform jury selection. But the hook the station chose for the story is telling: "Jury duty just got more intrusive." There are two challenges with this statement. One, it shouldn't be considered intrusive to make use of publicly available information (it shouldn't be, but according to some recent research, it is -- more on that below). Two, lawyers and litigation consultants haven't just stumbled on this technique, but have been using it for as long as it has been possible to Google.