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Social media to play a role in jury selection

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Updated: 2/03 12:36 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Michael Dunn is charged with murder in the death of Jacksonville teenager Jordan Davis. Potential jurors’ social media pages are going to face a lot of scrutiny during the selection process.

Lawyers from both sides in the Michael Dunn trial will be sorting through the social footprints of all jury applicants. Criminal Defense Attorney Dale Carson says that's for one reason.

“Well you want to get the most unbiased, the fairest jury panel that you can possibly get out of a jury pool,” said Carson.

Social media expert Rawlslyn Francis says teams on both sides will be looking for very specific statements regarding guilt or innocence.

“What they're looking for in social media is ‘Are they already making biased statements to their friends, to their colleagues? Are they already linking to information about the core statistics that came out in the newspaper or whatnot-?” said Francis.

The social media research is similar to the high-profile George Zimmerman jury selection – where lawyers on both sides also asked potential jurors of their social media usage. If any social media postings regarding Michael Dunn or Jordan Davis is found on juror applicant's social media pages, experts say it most likely will affect their selection.

"They've become a potential jury member that has a preconceived bias or notion about who is guilty or innocent so that would be troubling when trying to select jury members that have an unbiased approach," said Francis.

"When you have a case of that magnitude you want to make absolutely certain that the jury is not influenced in any way that it should not be," said Carson.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

chriswilson850 - 2/5/2014 3:38 PM
0 Votes
I believe it is very difficult to select jury duty because you never know if somebody already has a biased opinion towards a situation regardless if they are on social sites or not. Check out my blog about the topic.

chriswilson850 - 2/5/2014 3:36 PM
0 Votes

revivalist238 - 2/4/2014 10:48 PM
0 Votes
I believe this to be a good step closer to handling jury selection in a technologically advanced world. It's difficult to guarantee defendants unbiased jurors when news spreads faster than a cold. This might be of interest m/2014/02/04/tweeting-out-of-control/
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