Judge Issues Unique Order Related to Using the Internet to Research Jurors: Oracle v. Google.
Here is a link to the Judge's order. I excerpted the significant portions below. It appears that the judge is giving the parties a choice between either foregoing juror research or explaining to jurors just how they will conduct their research. Apparently, the judge wants to put jurors on notice that the attorneys in the case plan to investigate them online. I think most jurors at this point already know that they will be researched. It has been common practice for employers, colleges and landlords to conduct such research so why would court be any different. However, even with that said, I think putting jurors on notice is a good thing. Among other things, giving jurors this information may reduce instances of misconduct during trial because jurors now know that they are being watched.
To read prior posts about the Oracle v. Google case as it relates to juror research go here.
In the absence of complete agreement on a ban, the following procedure will be used. At the outset of jury selection, each side shall inform the venire of the specific extent to which it (including jury consultants, clients, and other agents) will use Internet searches to investigate and to monitor jurors, including specifically searches on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and so on, including the extent to which they will log onto their own social media accounts to conduct searches and the extent to which they will perform ongoing searches while the trial is underway.
Counsel shall not explain away their searches on the ground that the other side will do it, so they have to do it too. Nor may counsel intimate to the venire that the Court has allowed such searches and thereby leave the false impression that the judge approves of the intrusion. Counsel may simply explain that they feel obliged to their clients to consider all information available to the public about candidates to serve as jurors. Otherwise, counsel must stick to disclosing the full extent to which they will conduct searches on jurors. By this disclosure, the venire will be informed that the trial teams will soon learn their names and places of residence and will soon discover and review their social media profiles and postings, depending on the social media privacy settings in place. The venire persons will then be given a few minutes to use their mobile devices to adjust their privacy settings, if they wish. The venire persons will also be given the normal admonition that they cannot do any research about the case, the parties, or the lawyers and that they cannot speak to anyone about the case, including by making any social media postings about it. Only the names and places of residence of those called forward to the box shall be provided to counsel (so the identities of venire persons still in the gallery will remain private)