In the age of MySpace, Facebook, cyberspace sales pitches and blogging, the Internet is proving a treasure trove of insight into the thinking and values of those called for jury duty, reports the Los Angeles Times. And it has transformed the way many jury consultants do their jobs. Jeffrey T. Frederick, head of jury research for the National Legal Research Group in Virginia, has been in the business long enough to remember when consultants had to drive by homes or talk to neighbors to get an inkling of a potential juror’s social status or political views.
Now with a wealth of information online — newspaper letters to the editor, petition signatures, club memberships, campaign contributions — retrievable with a couple of keystrokes, Internet surfing can produce a detailed picture of how an individual votes, spends money and sounds off on controversial issues. “If a juror has an attitude about something, I want to know what that is,” said Frederick, who has been researching jurors for more than 30 years. The percentage of people who have substantial online profiles is still small, maybe 10%, he said, but it is growing exponentially and opening new avenues of exploration for Web-savvy consultants.