Jury duty may result in a Facebook background check

So not only are job applicants and online daters subject to Facebook background checks, but members of the public who are being considered for jury duty may also have their Facebook profile investigated. Some lawyers are “Facebook-ing the jury” as part of a background check in jury duty selection. Through PC Mag, Amber Yearwood, a consultant from juror consultancy Trial Behavior Consulting tells us that “Sites like Facebook and MySpace offer limited relevant information for the purposes of jury selection, but it does become useful when we have very limited information about the juror”. Typically she looks for case-specific attitudes; someone who makes public generalizations about insurance companies would probably not be selected by a defense attorney in an insurance fraud case, for example. But the biggest general flag Yearwood looks for in profiles is a person who with a dominant, opinionated personality. “If I see someone posting on a gazillion topics and giving advice to various Facebook friends, or going on long rants on things in the news, that tells me that the person is a leader,” Yearwood explains. “Each side looks for who their problem jurors are and what attributes they’ll have. ‘Leadership’ functions as a magnifier of how bad someone might be for you. Suddenly a borderline strike becomes a priority strike.” For instance, last year Yearwood crossed out a potential juror from a product-liability case when the person’s Facebook profile made her sound highly opinionated. The prospective juror also doled out lots of unsolicited medical and sex advice. “We were concerned she might lead the charge against us, so we struck her,” Yearwood said. Such news resounds among Facebook users as a reminder that anything you do online can be seen, and interpreted, by many different people. Ultimately, it could be to your detriment. A lesson to be learned? Be careful what you post.]]>

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