As Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, reports in an interesting article published in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times, the Internet is proving a treasure trove of insight into the thinking and values of those called for jury duty.
Online social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook are becoming commonly used as an easily accessible tool to ferret out information that can be used to have an unwanted individual struck from the jury. For example, Marshall Hennington, a psychologist who does work as a jury consultant relays how in a recent murder case, a jury candidate’s Facebook page assisted in getting the juror dismissed for cause. Hennington discovered that although the juror denied knowing a fellow potential juror, his Facebook page revealed that they not only knew each other but were cousins. The article goes on to explain:
Hennington has no qualms about plumbing the Internet for information damaging to the opposition.”They’re not giving me a call because they have a slam-dunk case. Clients call me because they know they have a difficult case and need to sell it to the jurors,” Hennington said. As long as the information obtained about a juror is publicly available and of use to a client, “everything is fair game,” he said. “This is war.”