Erin – The Blogging Juror
October 7, 2007
Meet Erin – the blogging juror. Right now she is serving on a jury somewhere. Or at least she was last Tuesday and Wednesday. Erin has a blog, and she posted her thoughts about jury duty on her blog last week while she was on the jury: “yeah somebody actually put me on a jury. I guess I will probably be juror number eight, blowing everybody’s minds with charisma and excessive knowledge of forensic psychology. remember the movie? twelve angry men? god i hope i get to be the foreman of this stupid jury. MADAM FOREWOMAN OF THE JURY! i can’t wait to decide the lives and deaths of men tomorrow.” Erin refers to herself as the “oak park mastermind,” and you can read more of Erin’s thoughts about her civic service (“the stupid jury isn’t over yet”) by visiting her blog.
Erin’s blog post was sent to me last night by jury consultant, Amy Singer, who wrote “this blog post illustrates the necessity of online searching venire panelists for information.” Amy is obviously right, and this kind of stuff is happening more and more. In 2005 I started asking every panel member in every voir dire whether they have a web site, a blog, or a page on myspace, facebook or any other website. Back then not many jurors did. But that has been rapidly changing. Business week reported that in 2005 there were 40,000 new blogs popping up each day (Blogs Will Change Your Business). I’m sure the number has only increased since then. In my opinion, these questions are no longer optional in a 2007 voir dire. You can learn more about a juror from visiting their blog or their page on facebook than you can from a month’s worth of questions in the courtroom.
Vesna Jaksic, who does excellent investigative writing on jury issues for The National Law Journal, wrote a piece on blogging jurors this past March (A New Headache for Courts: Blogging Jurors). I was quoted at that time as follows: “Any lawyer who does not inquire during jury selection about a juror’s Internet presence — whether it be a Web site, a blog, an account on MySpace or an account on Match.com — hasn’t done their job.” I think Erin’s post about her jury duty proves my point. I can’t wait to see if she was the Foreperson.