Attorney using social media to research their jurors

The next time you are summoned for jury duty, before you fill out the questionnaire or even set foot into the courtroom attorneys may already have an idea about you. After years of debating social media's presence in the courtroom, the American Bar Association is finally addressing the matter.  According to the group, it is perfectly legal and fair game for lawyers to pry into your personal life, and research you via social media. Potential Juror Doug Hardy said it's invasive and unnecessary.

"My feeling is you should walk in there and just pick 12 people. I don't know if that they need as much information that they get,"   hardy said.

Social media has turned into a powerful research tool for many industries.  Employer's, law enforcement, and the media all utilize the medium.  Angelina County District Attorney Art Bauereiss said extensive research is necessary.He said that jurors are trusted with making life changing decisions, so making sure they are suitable to serve is a must.

"You want to know as much as you can about the attitudes and opinions of people who might serve on a jury," Bauereiss said.

Raelynn Woods has been through jury duty a couple of times and said the information jurors divulge is plenty.

"You fill out the questionnaire, they ask you personal questions that should be enough," Woods said.

Angelina County Judge Robert Inselmann said it isn't good enough because most people are not able to be candid in a room full of people.

"You want a lawyer who will check into a jury because let's face it they are the most important audience you have in a jury trial," Inselmann said.

For now, it looks like the debate is far from settled.

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