Prosecutors in the Whitey Bulger trial recently requested that they be permitted to run criminal background checks on prospective jurors. Not surprisingly, Bulger's attorneys are opposing the government's request. Bulger's attorneys claim that
In this case, there is no compelling reason as to why the Court should verify criminal background information provided by the juror. One’s criminal record is no more relevant to the juror’s fitness to serve on the jury than any of the other inquiries into the juror’s background.
To read the defense's entire argument go here.
I find this story interesting because juror investigations by both prosecutors and defense attorneys have become quite common. Thus, I am a little surprised to learn that the government would even first seek permission from the court before researching the jurors.