Sunday, May 31, 2015

Vetting potential jurors goes digital

NewstalkZB reports:

People called up for jury duty could soon see their private lives put under the microscope.
A new company is offering to vet potential jurors social media profiles, on sites including Facebook and Twitter.
Jury Selection Services is offering defence lawyers access to a person's digital footprint.
It includes all publicly available information such as financial status, personal relationships, debts and even religious affiliation.
Auckland law professor Bill Hodge says it could deter people from turning up for jury duty.
That'll do for my chances of ever making a jury.

How far in advance do lawyers (and I'm guessing the information will be available to prosecuting lawyers also) know potential juror names? I had assumed it wasn't until they entered the court room and were available for challenge. Everybody over 18 (and on the electoral roll) is eligible for jury service, so does that mean the "new company" would have to possess the digital footprint of everyone that has one? That's a massive amount of information. To make the collection of it comercially viable, wouldn't the data be offered further afield than to just lawyers? Indeed, does the "new company" already exist under another guise?

Most importantly, would this ability to quickly access a digital footprint produce a panel better able to deliver a just decision? If the service is very expensive the course of justice could be perverted.


JC said...

A vetting service would catch a few internet warriors but I doubt its better than the lawyers eying you up in person and accepting/rejecting on appearance, attitude and demographics.

Also, we all know the nicest people who can turn into terrors on the net but its not their real personality.


Anonymous said...

Even if the info is publicly available it would be close to breaking the Law around privacy.

Allistar said...

They should fix one of the major problems with jury service and that is the compensation people are given for serving. It's something like $30 per half day. So in a week you could lose thousands of dollars in normal earnings. They should make it more equitable, like a high percentage of your income. People should not be forced to lose money when they serve on a jury (even though all taxpayers are forced to lose money to pay for the system).