Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts


Duncan Stark


Lawyers traditionally have conducted research on potential jurors outside the courtroom as part of voir dire. But as wireless Internet access becomes ubiquitous, attorneys are increasingly likely to conduct juror research inside the courtroom, including during voir dire itself. In the August 2010 decision Carino v. Muenzen, a New Jersey appeals court held that a trial court judge erred when he told a lawyer to close his laptop during voir dire, reasoning that there was no disruption, no resulting prejudice, and no rule against researching jurors online during the proceeding. This Article examines the Carino decision and the issue of researching potential jurors during voir dire. Because there is very little guiding law, lawyers should expect to encounter attorneys who research potential jurors in the courtroom and realize that this practice may be allowed at the discretion of individual judges.

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