Do you dread receiving a jury summons? There’s one way to make sure that you are exempted. Post on Facebook that you love Law and Order, and not just Law and Order, but everything Law and Order: SVU, CSI, Law and Order LA, and even the short-lived Trial by Jury starring Bebe Neuwirth. Try and friend Harry Hamlin and Susan Dey from LA Law, and list Perry Mason as one of your heroes. More and more lawyers are checking prospective jurors’ Facebook pages to see how much they love crime and law entertainment. The problem, say the lawyers, is that it gives these people a skewed system of how the justice system really works.
Facebook has become a repository for lawyers, hoping to find the best possible jurors. They don’t want people who post lengthy rants either, since that means that they are opinionated and not easily swayed by public opinion. And if they are friends of ranters, that’s a problem too. Friends can often influence your decisions, and possibly disqualify you too.
And then there is Twitter. If you’re the type of person who tweets about what you had for breakfast or every time you brush your teeth, chances are that you are a chatterbox, hardly the person who can show discretion about the intimate details of trial deliberations.
While Facebook and Twitter can win you lots of friends and followers, they are making it ever more difficult for you to be considered a peer, and peers are still the basis of our jury trial system.