Online searches for jury selection.

Tess M.S. Neal, Robert J. Cramer, Mitchell H. Ziemke, Stanley L. Brodsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Sixth Amendment guarantees defendants the right to trial by an impartial jury. Attorneys are expected to obtain information about potential juror biases and then deselect biased jurors. Social networking sites may offer useful information about potential jurors. Although some attorneys and trial consultants have begun searching online sources for information about jurors, the privacy rights of potential jurors’ online content has yet to be defined by case law. Two studies explored the issue of possible intrusion into juror privacy. First, an active jury venire was searched for online content. Information was found for 36% of the jurors; however, 94% of the information was found through simple Google searches. Only 6% of the information we found was unique to other sites. We concluded that searching for potential jurors online is feasible, but that systematically searching sites other than Google is generally not an effective search strategy. In our second study we surveyed attorneys, trial consultants, law students, and undergraduate students about ethical and privacy issues in the use of public domain information for jury selection. Participants evidenced concern about the rights of jurors, the rights of the defendant and accuser, and the role of tradition in court processes.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-318
JournalCriminal Law Bulletin
StatePublished - 2013


  • Social networking sites
  • Online information search
  • Jury
  • ethics
  • Privacy
  • Internet and politics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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