The Internet seeps into juries and, in response to the expansion of social media into our lives, the New York City Bar released an opinion on jury research and social media. The opinion is available here.
“Attorneys may use social media websites for juror research as long as no communication occurs between the lawyer and the juror as a result of the research. Attorneys may not research jurors if the result of the research is that the juror will receive a communication. If an attorney unknowingly or inadvertently causes a communication with a juror, such conduct may run afoul of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The attorney must not use deception to gain access to a juror’s website or to obtain information, and third parties working for the benefit of or on behalf of an attorney must comport with all the same restrictions as the attorney. Should a lawyer learn of juror misconduct through otherwise permissible research of a juror’s social media activities, the lawyer must reveal the improper conduct to the court.”
ABA Journal published an article further detailing the NYC Bar opinion which is available here. What is important to note is that even if the interaction is unintentional or accidental, but creates a connection with a potential juror, it will be deemed an ethics violation.