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Different Takes on the Dismissed Michigan Juror:

September 9, 2010

A juror was recently dismissed from her duties after posting to her Facebook account about the trial.

Here are some more thoughts about the implications of this practice:

From a strategy perspective, attorneys should probably do all they can to look into the social networking presence of jurors and their opposition.  I have a friend who is clerking at an employment law firm.  His firm was working on a worker’s compensation defense case when he discovered the Facebook page of the plaintiff.  Just days after the alleged injury, the plaintiff had posted photos of himself on a trampoline.  I don’t know how that case turned out, but obviously this type of discovery is a case-changer.  Similarly, if all the jurors have been communicating with their “friends” about a trial, that could be grounds for a mistrial.

From a privacy perspective, potential jurors and litigants should know how to adjust their privacy settings!  There are a lot of articles out there on how to customize your social networking privacy settings, so I won’t beat the point to death here.  It might also be good practice not to make any new “connections” accept any new “followers” or confirm any new “friendships” when you are involved in a criminal or civil trial.  [Obviously this is an impractical point for attorneys or businesses who operate in a constant litigation cycle, but the idea is the same: be careful].

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