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Lawyers Using Facebook Research For Jury Selection

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the don't-poke-me-yer-honor dept.

Facebook 283

unassimilatible writes "Trial lawyers are increasingly using social networking sites like Facebook to research jurors in real-time during the voir dire process. Armando Villalobos, the district attorney of Cameron County, Brownsville, Texas, last year equipped his prosecutors with iPads to scan the Web during jury selection. But what of the jurors who have their privacy settings restricted to 'friends only?' Mr. Villalobos has thought of a potential workaround: granting members of the jury pool free access to the court's wi-fi network in exchange for temporarily 'friending' his office. Faustian bargain, or another way to get out of jury duty?"

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283 comments

That's Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35280112)

Jurors have no business using wifi while they're serving anyway.

siting in a room for as low as $5 a day sucks you (1, Offtopic)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280142)

siting in a room for as low as $5 a day sucks you need something to kill time.

Re:siting in a room for as low as $5 a day sucks y (3, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280230)

Read a book

Re:siting in a room for as low as $5 a day sucks y (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280616)

The cheap kindle does wifi only, correct?

Re:siting in a room for as low as $5 a day sucks y (1)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280740)

Ya but you normally have a few weeks notice for your summons. So I think a person would have enough time to load up on a few books by then.

A solution: (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280546)

If you are called up for jury duty, I might suggest turning up wearing a T-shirt with "GUILTY" emblazoned on front and back. You might spend a day in jail for contempt of court, but I doubt if you'll be admitted to the jury panel.

Re:A solution: (1, Funny)

Immostlyharmless (1311531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280632)

You don't need to be so blatant. Just show up with an *athiest* sign on your shirt. Then you can't possibly be held in contempt, and no one will pick you anyhow. You know us Godless heathens can't be trusted!! ;-)

Re:A solution: (1)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280896)


Just show up for selection and indicate you've read news reports about the crime and are sure the defendant is guilty.

No need for theatrics.

Re:That's Stupid (2)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280148)

Jurors have no business using wifi while they're serving anyway.

This is only during voir dire - they're not serving yet. They're being picked over like cattle.

Re:That's Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35280436)

Meh. Which is more "fair" in our legal system, a prosecutor or defender who can get intimate and specific details about a potential juror so as to potentially manipulate the outcome, or to accept a jury pretty much randomly?

A "jury of your peers" should not be a studied, exhaustive screening, but a random sampling.

Re:That's Stupid (1)

CaptSlaq (1491233) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280544)

Meh. Which is more "fair" in our legal system, a prosecutor or defender who can get intimate and specific details about a potential juror so as to potentially manipulate the outcome, or to accept a jury pretty much randomly?

A "jury of your peers" should not be a studied, exhaustive screening, but a random sampling.

How do you deal with cases like that network admin in California with a randomly selected group of people?

A randomly selected group of people aren't going to understand the nuances of some of the more specialized professions, like IT, unless you define "peers" very narrowly.

Re:That's Stupid (3, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280640)

Except of course that's not the goal of the jury selection process as it stands today. The counsels are not trying to get people who are the most qualified, they are trying to eliminate people who they feel are 'biased' against their position. Where 'biased' frequently means 'having any opinions at all'. And since the prosecution tries to dump anybody who might be sympathetic to the defense and the defense tries to dump anybody sympathetic to the prosecution, you're left with a pool of people who are the wishy-washiest, most indecisive, ignorant, unmotivated, etc. people available. It's a sad state of affairs.

Re:That's Stupid (2)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280666)

In a large portion of trials, especially high profile cases, there will be some evidence that the average person would not understand. That's what expert witnesses are for, not jury selection.

If you are charged with insider trading, you're not entitled to a jury of accountants, MBAs, and I-bankers. You get the same "average" jury as everyone else. Then both sides call experts who explain the technical details in a way a lay person can understand. There is an art to presenting the "right" amount of technical information so that the jury understands the crime, without becoming bored. So, consequently experts who can explain complicated material to lay persons who may or may not have any interest in the topic without sounding condescending, boring, over the top command very high fees.

Even in mundane cases like "possession with intent to distribute" the words don't always comport to a lay understanding. E.g. "Intent" has very little to do with future plans.

Re:That's Stupid (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280946)

Does the ability of experts to convince jurors of their views have anything to do with the truth of those views? And hey, Slashdot, why am I typing white on white?

Re:That's Stupid (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280604)

I'm a bit curious as to how they are supposed to manage this properly. About half a dozen userIDs pop up if I search my own name under Facebook, and I don't even have an account. It doesn't help that most of these don't post a realistic image of themselves.

Re:That's Stupid (1)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280702)

Jurors have no business using wifi while they're serving anyway.

This is while they are in selection, before they are serving on a case. Their duties at that point involved sitting there wasting time and being available to answer questions about themselves. There's no reason for them not to be able to use wifi.

yeah, that'll fail. (2)

DynamoJoe (879038) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280114)

Friend their office? Hahahah, no. If that excludes me from jury duty, so be it.

Re:yeah, that'll fail. (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280344)

If a juror is smart enough to set his Facebook profile to "friends only", he's probably smart enough to be a juror.

Re:yeah, that'll fail. (4, Interesting)

cruff (171569) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280486)

That assumes they want smart jurors that can reason independently, though that was actually the case when I served on a medical malpractice trial many years ago. For another drunk driving trial, I and several other prospective jurors were eliminated by the defense because we were in jobs that required close attention to details, and it appeared they were possibly trying to argue in some fashion about blood alchohol level limits.

Re:yeah, that'll fail. (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280682)

re eliminated by the defense because we were in jobs that required close attention to details,

those prosecutor should be fired, as they are working against the citizen, sadly they will probably be promoted.

there are two sides to every argument. But, (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280830)

They aren't working for the 'citizen' (I assume you mean the one being charged)

  in that position, the responsibility of the prosecutor is to represent the values of the community AGAINST the value/decision of the individual.

in a tribe of 10 people, you work stuff out via conversation and with the possibility of expulsion (shunning)

in a tribe of millions, you have a DA who does his best to see the one person at loggerheads is punished.

Re:yeah, that'll fail. (2)

ZipK (1051658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280530)

I'm guessing you haven't been on too many juries. Let me fix that for you:

If a juror is smart enough to set his Facebook profile to "friends only", he's probably smart enough not to be a juror.

Re:yeah, that'll fail. (0)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280592)

'Judges dont want smart jurors.

Smart jurors understand that they dont have to convict based on law if the law is unjust.

Annulment is the ONLY weapon that the people have against corrupt laws and a corrupt court.

Re:yeah, that'll fail. (1)

computerman413 (1122419) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280680)

If a juror is smart enough to set his Facebook profile to "friends only", he's probably too smart to be a juror.

Fixed that for you.

Re:yeah, that'll fail. (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280364)

If I wanted to get out of jury duty, I'd just give them my slashdot ID (which I also use on Fark, Reason and Volokh). That should provide both the prosecution and defense plenty of reasons to excuse me. That or my stubborn refusal to answer questions without legal representation present.

Although, I have no objection to jury duty as long as the trial doesn't last more than a week or so.

Re:yeah, that'll fail. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35280572)

"If I wanted to get out of jury duty, I'd just give them my slashdot ID (which I also use on Fark, Reason and Volokh). That should provide both the prosecution and defense plenty of reasons to excuse me."

There are lots of trolls in the jury.

Re:yeah, that'll fail. (1)

SudoGhost (1779150) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280492)

free access to the court's wi-fi network in exchange for temporarily "friending" his office

It isn't his wifi network, it belongs to the courts...how is he authorized to give people access to it?

Doesn't pass the smell test (3, Insightful)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280116)

If an outside law firm established some kind of quid-pro-quo relationship with jury members I have a feeling any such arrangement would be smacked down by a presiding judge. I can't imagine they will allow this to go forward with the district attorney. The jury should be impartial, and not have any appearance of favoritism of one side over the other. "Friend" the prosecution? I don't think so!

Re:Doesn't pass the smell test (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280276)

Can an attorney for the defense offer $10 to become Facebook 'Friends'? Can a potential juror sell it to the highest bidder? Or both??

in some places $10 is more then jurys make per (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280322)

in some places $10 is more then jurys make per day.

Make jury pay more like $100+ per day so you can't buy a vote for pocket chump change.

Re:in some places $10 is more then jurys make per (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280568)

I was called to jury duty in 1995 or 96 while I was working at OfficeMax stocking shelves. The pay for jury duty was actually more than I was being paid by OfficeMax.

Re:Doesn't pass the smell test (1, Informative)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280300)

You expect sense from the court system. That went out the window long ago - at least by the time they started letting prosecution and defense haggle over who should sit on a jury.

Jurors should be selected by lot, and reach their verdict by majority vote, not "consensus". People who think the current circus gives them a better shot at justice, should learn basic probability theory and look up Condorcet's jury theorem.

Re:Doesn't pass the smell test (2)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280368)

Seriously? Majority over consensus? I'd rather take the risk that *1* juror holds out than the risk that 1 person can convince about half of the remainder that they should get their asses out of there by proclaiming me guilty.

Re:Doesn't pass the smell test (2)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280760)

If it's done by majority vote instead of "consensus", they won't need to worry about sitting there till they rot. They'll just call the vote and be done with it. In that less threatening situation, there's less room for aggressive "persuasion" of other jury members.

The demand for "consensus" does not help you. All it does is empower the persistent and headstrong at the expense of the careful and thoughtful. It ruins what's a jury's real strength: its diversity.

If you knew Condorcet's jury theorem, you'd know how important it is that jurors reach their conclusions independently.

Re:Doesn't pass the smell test (5, Interesting)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280552)

Jurors should be selected by lot, and reach their verdict by majority vote, not "consensus".

That's a terrible idea if your goal is to have the jury reach the "correct" verdict. When everyone has to agree the chances are much higher that the result will be more accurate. I was on a jury where we started out around 50%/50% after closing arguments, and it took quite a bit of discussion to get everyone to understand what was said, what the evidence was, and what our instructions were. There were several people who thought the guy was guilty because he wasn't a very likable guy, but it turns out that the combination of the evidence, the timeline presented by the prosecution, and most importantly our instructions from the judge forced a verdict of not guilty. If we had voted on it at the start, that guy would be in jail now.

Re:Doesn't pass the smell test (2)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280756)

Maybe in theory, where all the jurors are rational actors who carefully weigh the evidence.

In reality, where things like race play a major part in jury votes, you're asking for majoritarian tyranny.

Questionable practice... (2)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280132)

The Jurors aren't on trial and the Attornies shouldn't be able to do anything other than ask specific questions at Voir Dire as they've always done. This is a highly questionable practice they're taking on.

Re:Questionable practice... (2)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280212)

Especially quesitonable is giving jurors access to court wi-fi in exchange for participation. The jurors are hardly going to be neutral to that nice man who gave them web access during the boring selection thingie.

Re:Questionable practice... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280576)

If we really want to make sure that we never get re-elected, we could do something crazy like making sure that forensics labs are independent entities, equally accessible to the prosecution and the defense, rather than the (quite common; but not universal) model of their being appendages of the police force...

No need to "friending" the office... (3, Funny)

TheMidget (512188) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280164)

granting members of the jury pool free access to the court's wi-fi network in exchange for temporarily "friending" his office

Or, more easily, just offer the entire jury pool free access to the court's wi-fi network, and then firesheep their accounts...

Re:No need to "friending" the office... (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280366)

TBH, that's where I thought the sentence that starts "Mr. Villalobos has thought of a potential workaround: granting members of the jury pool free access to the court's wi-fi network..." was going.

I suppose that's a bit too far on the "OMG h@x0rz" paranoia. Still, I have to agree with other posters... unless the facebook info is made available to the defense during the jury vetting process, this smacks of improper and unbalanced quid pro quo.

friending != full access (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280178)

You can still restrict comments/information to specific people or everyone but specific people, so I fail to see how this is a good idea. Why not create jobs with your gobs of money by hiring some kind of journalist roles to jury selection that are authorized to follow jurors around? Then after a day of that say, "friend us on Facebook if you don't want this pesky underling following you around." Or better yet, just pay Facebook to have administrative rights to review an user's data.

Re:friending != full access (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280314)

This is for potential jurors during voir dire. They won't have time to go to their FB page and edit settings. The prosecutors don't get to stay 'Friends' during the trial so who 'follows around jurors' will lose their jobs.

Re:friending != full access (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280334)

The prosecutors don't get to stay 'Friends' during the trial so who 'follows around jurors' will lose their jobs.

s/b The prosecutors don't get to stay 'Friends' during the trial so no-one who 'follows around jurors' will lose their jobs.

Re:friending != full access (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280378)

Chicken and egg. In order to grant wifi accesss, the potential juror must allow the public prosecutor's office to be friends. However, the juror must have access to the account in order to approve any friend requests. Thus the juror could, when accessing the account to allow the friend, change their privacy settings.

Re:friending != full access (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280448)

Chicken and egg. In order to grant wifi accesss, the potential juror must allow the public prosecutor's office to be friends. However, the juror must have access to the account in order to approve any friend requests. Thus the juror could, when accessing the account to allow the friend, change their privacy settings.

<Artie Johnson>Very interesting.

You're absolutely right. Who brings their laptop to court anyway? Would they protest that you were taking notes? Some may have a tablet at this point, but wouldn't most be using their phones anyway?

Privacy Settings (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280182)

Is it really that hard to set your information to "friends only" or even "friends of friends"? Unless you hang out with lot of lawyers (I have a couple in my friends list), how much information can they actually gleen from "This person only shares certain information with friends".

I have jury duty on March 10. We'll see how well that goes for them.

Re:Privacy Settings (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280380)

When I did my jury duty a couple years back, they didn't ask anything about social networking sites in particular, they did ask if there were any reasons or connections that might lead me to be partial. And they asked in several different ways about things which might reasonably related.

This seems to be unnecessary though.

Don't know about facebook... (5, Interesting)

ak_hepcat (468765) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280190)

But I do know that they're watching twitter.

I sent out a tweet, during one my last jury selection, at lunchtime, that we were in the middle of jury selection.

no specifics, just a "we're at this point in the process"

After lunch, I was called into the chambers and dismissed, because they had seen my tweet and were afraid that I might
engage in "too much" social media and release too much information.

I was surprised that showed up on court that quickly, actually. I don't know how they found it, but I assume
that they're performing near constant searches using jurors names.

Re:Don't know about facebook... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35280242)

But I do know that they're watching twitter.

I sent out a tweet, during one my last jury selection, at lunchtime, that we were in the middle of jury selection.

no specifics, just a "we're at this point in the process"

After lunch, I was called into the chambers and dismissed, because they had seen my tweet and were afraid that I might
engage in "too much" social media and release too much information.

I was surprised that showed up on court that quickly, actually. I don't know how they found it, but I assume
that they're performing near constant searches using jurors names.

Well yeah you're actually stupid enough to use your real name on the public Internet. Of course they can easily track your moves.

My name? It's Betty Humpter, what of it?

Re:Don't know about facebook... (1)

ak_hepcat (468765) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280392)

I'm a very minor local "celebrity" ..

I'm on IMDB, too.

So of course I use my real name.

But I don't pull any punches, either.

Re:Don't know about facebook... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35280636)

I'm a very minor local "celebrity" ..

I'm on IMDB, too.

So of course I use my real name.

But I don't pull any punches, either.

I'd appreciate your perspective on something that never made any sense to me. It's one of those instances of mass hysteria that is constantly protrayed as normal so few ever really question it and ask whether it makes sense or accomplishes any worthy goal.

When I buy a car, it does not come with a list of all the company executives who allocated a budget for its production. There is no list of the engineers who designed it, the marketers who promoted it, the factory workers who built it. No special mention is made of the vendor who provided the car company with the factory equipment. The media doesn't chase these people around. Talk shows don't go "blah blah blah" discussing to whom they are married, how many times they've been divorced, the fact that their cousin's sister's friend of a friend has a son with Down syndrome. The daily mundane mishaps and relationship difficulties don't make the news. No. I just exchange a certain amount of money and I receive a car, the finished product. The people involved have their reward -- they got paid.

What is it about someone who can act or sing that makes this so radically different? What makes the most mundane, trivial, unenlightening details of their non-acting, non-singing, non-professional personal lives so endlessly fascinating in the minds of so many? Do you think that's what say, a philosopher would care about? Is it worthy of the big ado that's made of it?

I think one of my personal concepts of hell would involve not even being able to go to the damned grocery store without a mob of people going nuts and salivating over my very presence and acting like I am some kind of deity just because my talent happens to be a performing art and not say, science. I would never want to live like that. It would be a constant in-your-face reminder of how childish and idolizing too many people are. It's some kind of shallow ego-trip that doesn't appeal to me. But really, what is it about acting and singing that's such a big deal?

Re:Don't know about facebook... (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280758)

When I buy a car, it does not come with a list of all the company executives who allocated a budget for its production. There is no list of the engineers who designed it, the marketers who promoted it, the factory workers who built it.

Didn't Saturn do that for a while?

-Rick

Re:Don't know about facebook... (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280886)

It's a talent that people can understand and be amused by.

As opposed to, say, science, where a scientist who makes a mind-bogglingly monumental discovery will find that there is a small number of scientists in his/her specific field who admire/are jealous of his/her accomplishments, a few people who can understand the discovery in enough detail to say "cool" or engage in a serious and interesting conversation about it, a few hundred Slashdotters who will argue incessantly about whether the science is valid based on their high school educations, and a vast majority of humans who don't have the foggiest clue what a quark is and why we should give a shit that it now spins anticlockwi.. oh, look, "Survivor: Whiny Nearly Naked Big Boobed Chicks XXIV" is on!

It's gotta meet one of the basic needs. Food, clothing, shelter, procreation, recreation. Otherwise, it's just some mumbo-jumbo from that science thing Geezus tells us is wrong.

voir dire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35280200)

"Voir dire" - a French phrase translated as "jury tampering".

Re:voir dire (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280354)

"Voir dire" - a French phrase translated as "jury tampering".

Not to be confused with "Very dire" - a common phrase translated as "on trial".

"Temporarily Friend"? (1)

maelfius (592856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280202)

Honestly, I think that a lot of people would do the temporary friending (well in the places that don't allow cell phones with cameras in the court houses...and every cell phone pretty much has a camera in it these days). What I find to be amazing is that people have little regard for personal privacy when it comes to the social networking sites (or just don't understand what it really means to them -- or worse don't care).

This wouldn't work for me, I'm content with my kindle or other e-reader (or a real book) when having to sit and wait. I find it offensive that 'Facebook' among other things can be used during jury selection. While I can understand that the attorneys and the courts want the best representation of unbiased people, I think this will turn into abuse of the system on both sides.

I also would argue that there is nothing "temporary" about friending the office. My guess would be that they will start siphoning down your details and storing them for later. If this is to be permissible, there needs to be strict retention policies set forth by the court on the user data (and this should probably be evaluated in a more formal way).

Granted I didn't read TFA. I should probably do so before posting. But in either case, it worries me that people have so little regard for the data they post online and what is done with it. While I am personally careful to post things that I know I don't mind EVERYONE knowing, I am probably in the minority.

Just my $0.003

why? (4, Funny)

uncanny (954868) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280244)

I dont understand why they are using and Egyptian newborn to help with this! What does she even know about the legal system?

if you don’t have a facebook account? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35280250)

What happens if you don’t have a facebook account?
Ask Whatson please.

No Facebook == disqualified? (4, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280260)

granting members of the jury pool free access to the court's wi-fi network in exchange for temporarily "friending" his office.

So what if I don't have a Facebook account? Will I be automatically disqualified from serving on the jury?

Re:No Facebook == disqualified? (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280338)

Maybe the free internet access is for you to set one up? The whole story makes my mind boggle.

Re:No Facebook == disqualified? (4, Interesting)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280402)

I know at least some employers are now taking the slant that if you don't have a Facebook account you automatically either "have something to hide" or "are anti-social to the extreme". I'm neither of those, but am honestly too busy to check a stupid web site 3-4x a day.

I had a facebook account but had people getting pissy with me because I wasn't checking it often enough, so now I no longer have one.

Maybe this will get me out of jury duty as well as helping me avoid pretentious asshole bosses that I wouldn't want to work for anyways some day too? One can always hope.

Re:No Facebook == disqualified? (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280634)

"I know at least some employers are now taking the slant that if you don't have a Facebook account you automatically either "have something to hide" or "are anti-social to the extreme". "

and only a fool would work there. Honestly, are you about to be killed or thrown into debtors prison? I'd rather flip burgers than work for raging assholes at a company that would do that.

Re:No Facebook == disqualified? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280692)

I know at least some employers are now taking the slant that if you don't have a Facebook account you automatically either "have something to hide" or "are anti-social to the extreme".

Sounds either urban legend-ish or astroturfy. I looked at your posting history and you don't seem astroturfy. So that leaves urban legend. Kind of like everyone has heard of someone whom got a job on monster.com, got a job thru linked in, got married from online dating, and now can't get hired without facebook. Uh huh...

Re:No Facebook == disqualified? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280802)

I know at least some employers are now taking the slant that if you don't have a Facebook account you automatically either "have something to hide" or "are anti-social to the extreme".

What about: Restrict my networking activity to very exclusive circles. If someone can't find me online, they probably aren't worthy of my services.

Re:No Facebook == disqualified? (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280716)

No you are qualified. FB account holders will not survive if they are prevented from updating their status for days or weeks.

weird facebook = no jury duty? (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280268)

well, that means the 90% of my relatives who don't have any social media awareness, will now pay the neighbor's 9-year-old to "set up something" which could relieve them of jury duty.

Good or bad not to be on FB? (1)

willith (218835) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280308)

I don't have a Facebook account--nor do I have a Myspace page, LinkedIn profile, or any other social networking connection. I don't even show up in the Google results for my real name until somewhere around the 20th page of results. This is yet another occasion where I'm glad I don't have those potential huge liabilities hanging around my neck, but I have to wonder: would an attorney consider this kind of non-presence a desirable characteristic, or a non-desirable one?

Re:Good or bad not to be on FB? (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280446)

but I have to wonder: would an attorney consider this kind of non-presence a desirable characteristic, or a non-desirable one?

Non-desirable... if they can't pre-emptively read your demographic, how can they determine if you're likely to convict/exonerate the guy they have on trial?

This keeps coming up... (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280324)

What's with this assumption that _everyone_ uses Facebook, anyway?

"No, I'm not refusing to hand over my Facebook details; there are none". Won't that be enough?

Re:This keeps coming up... (4, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280656)

More fun to be at least a little obtuse and explain that "no, I do not have a Facebook".

Isn't this illegal? (4, Interesting)

shuz (706678) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280350)

Let's say I am a juror candidate and at any point in the process a representative from one side of the court were to approach me and says "here is 100,000 dollars, if you become a juror the money is yours if you show favor for my client". Isn't this illegal? What is the different between X amount of money, a wrist watch, a service provided, or free wifi? The answer is nothing in the sense that it is all bribery. If I were a judge make it be known that I would treat this offense to the fullest of my powers.

Re:Isn't this illegal? (1)

rcnut (1840430) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280644)

To be fair, you would have to friend both the prosecution and the defense so they can research you as a potential juror. But would you really want to do that if the defendant is an alleged criminal?

Re:Isn't this illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35280726)

Let's say I am a juror candidate and at any point in the process a representative from one side of the court were to approach me and says "here is 100,000 dollars, if you become a juror the money is yours if you show favor for my client". Isn't this illegal? What is the different between X amount of money, a wrist watch, a service provided, or free wifi? The answer is nothing in the sense that it is all bribery. If I were a judge make it be known that I would treat this offense to the fullest of my powers.

That's WHY you're not a judge.

Re:Isn't this illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35280968)

It's the prosecutor's office doing this, right?

Guess which office brings people up on charges of such things as bribery, extortion, and racketeering?

Yeah, it's not going to get pursued.

Awesome! (1)

hellfire (86129) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280382)

I'm going to set up a Facebook page with a status permanently set to "I can spot a guilty person a mile away!"

That will get me out of jury duty for now... until Facebook is made irrelevant or goes under.

Re:Awesome! (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280978)

Just like the 'Jury Nullification' page, it's pretty much a 'get out of jury free' card for ever

What about people without Facebook accounts? (1)

Qubit (100461) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280398)

I guess having a Facebook account makes you a more important person in the eyes of this DA...

As others have pointed out, I can't possibly believe that this kind of interaction between DA and potential jurors could be anything but harmful to the DA's court case. It seems like yet another avenue for a defendant's lawyer to as for a mistrial and/or appeal.

I'll just follow Homer Simpsons' jury duty advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35280406)

Anybody want to join my Facebook group "I'm prejudiced against all races"?

Seems like bribery (2)

dirk (87083) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280416)

I don't have any real issue with checking them out on Facebook, or even getting them to friend you if they are dumb enough to do that. I think the line is clearly being crossed by offering them something (in this case internet access) for friending the prosecutor. It sets up a clear divide in the jury pool, as people who have open profiles and those who don't want to allow the prosecutor access don't get internet access. It also puts the defender at a disadvantage, since they obviously now have to offer them something to get the same access.

To me FB is like public records. It is out in the public and if you can see it, then it is fair game. But basically bribing the people to give you access crosses the line.

Seriously? (1)

cstanley8899 (1998614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280420)

Is this some sort of joke? Lawyers with Ipads? Jurors Tweeting? Please get me out of this alternate hipster universe! Please! I want normalcy!

Anonymity for jurors (2)

ka9dgx (72702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280430)

We may be a bit different here in Indiana, but we don't let the defendants know our names here. The judge was pretty careful about instructing us during the selection process. How could a jury possibly return a guilty verdict in a murder trial if the defendant knew their names and could then extract revenge?

This is just nuts!

That would actually prejudice me (3, Insightful)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280472)

Thinking about it, if a lawyer for either side were to ask to friend me or something else, I would immediately tell the judge that I needed to be excluded because I've become prejudiced against that side.

And I would be telling the truth.

Re:That would actually prejudice me (0)

gnapster (1401889) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280706)

I would probably do the same. And it would sadden me, because (as a citizen) I would like to participate in the legal process in this way.

Jury Duty (1)

return 42 (459012) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280564)

Faustian bargain, or another way to get out of jury duty?

Oh yes, because you know we all want to get out of jury duty. No participation in what the government does for me, thanks! Let 'em do whatever they want!

This is legal? (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280594)

The prosecution bribes potential jurors in exchange for information on their background? There has to be something illegal about that.

It is easy to get out of jury duty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35280602)

You simply say "I believe in jury nullification."

Yeah, that, or... (1)

itsownreward (688406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280614)

...or maybe I turn on the wifi tethering on my unlimited data plan on my phone for everybody to use and carry a couple backup batteries. Being a Texan, I know the courts are corrupt, but... really?

this is just dumb (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280628)

1. jury selection should be done by lot, not hand-picking jurors like drawing a poker hand.
2. so I don't have a facebook account, I guess that makes me some sort of dangerous privacy advocate conspiracy theorist?
3. have you seen [google.com] what facebook users get into? Heck, having an account ought to disqualify you for being an advocate for the overthrow of the gubbamint.

Juries should just be random... period (1)

scamper_22 (1073470) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280642)

I've never really understood the process of jury selection.

I know the theory is that you 'weed' out people who might have biases... but in the end... is not the process of selecting juries creating another bias.

Better we just stick to true randomness. A random selection of people. Maybe have them at most pass a basic literacy/logic test. Then aim for 80% agreement or something to knock off the oddballs.

Faustian bargain? (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#35280772)

Lets see. Faust got in a exchange for his immortal soul: Satan himself as his servant.

A facebook befriending gets you a shared wifi hotspot.

Somehow I don't think this will make as good a story.

Probably also at the end God will slap you.

Can we all just quit Facebook already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35280984)

Kill the damn thing before it becomes mandatory to have a FB account.

HBGary/Palatir/Berico.... State of Maryland requiring job candidates to give them their FB login info.... debt collectors using FB to harass debtors (and their friends/neighbors)... lawyers scanning it for potential jurors.... stalking.... bullying.... God only knows what NSA, PLA Third Department, Mossad, and that ilk is doing with it.

Is it really that hard to email pics of your vacation to friends and family, and call them once in a while?

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