October 8, 2010
Lawyers May Utilize Google To Help Learn Jurors Background During Jury Selection
During jury selection in a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff’s lawyer used his laptop to conduct research on members of the jury pool. Upon learning of plaintiff’s lawyer’s tactic, the trial judge prohibited plaintiff’s lawyer from continuing with his online research. On appeal, the New Jersey Appellate Court overturned the trial judge’s decision, holding that even though a trial judge has wide discretion, in this case, the trial judge acted unreasonably.
“There was no suggestion that counsel’s use of the computer was disruptive. That he had the foresight to bring his laptop computer to Court and defense counsel did not, simply cannot serve as a basis for judicial intervention in the name of ‘fairness’ or maintaining ‘a level playing field.’ The ‘playing field’ was, in fact, already ‘level’ because internet access was open to both counsel, even if only one of them chose to utilize it.”
Carino v. Muenzen, New Jersey Superior Court, No. A-5491-08T1, 2010 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2154 (N.J. Super. Ct. Aug. 30, 2010).