I was on NPR's Science Friday show this week, yapping about how lawyers are using Facebook profile information as evidence (summary: we use it all the time, if it might be relevant), and one of the topics we discussed is the use of Facebook research to screen potential jurors for bias. We did not discuss MySpace or Twitter, but those are used too. Just FYI.
That means, among other things, that tweets about how much people hate jury duty – and there are lots of those – could potentially be relevant, at least if they suggest somebody was not taking the process seriously. I came across an article in which the author discussed an Ohio case where this happened, and she had run a search on Twitter for the phrase "jury duty," with interesting results. I thought I would try that too. Here is some of what I found:
- yo i was in jury duty two weeks ago. fell asleep in court. twice. in one day. at least it was a civil case
- I very well could get in trouble for using my phone at jury duty but still wanted to wish u happy birthday LOL
- sorry I just saw your reply. Well I went to jury duty this morning and didn't get picked. It pays to show a bias 😉
- jury duty was cancelled. Man, and I was looking forward to being a part of the judicial system and screwing a minority. kidding.
Granted, it might be difficult to identify these people (I deliberately left out their Twitter names, although I would very much have liked to post the first one), but clearly there is lots of potentially useful information out there. Also FYI, you are supposed to try to stay awake even in civil cases, falsely claiming to have a bias in order to get out of jury duty I am pretty sure is a crime, and actually demonstrating bias might not always be okay just because you add the word "kidding."
Anyway, I hope I was able to sufficiently frighten people into not using Facebook, or at least convince them not to post anything potentially incriminating.
Link: Science Friday