Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Interesting. Via The Volokh Conspiracy, Real-time Googling of Jurors During Voir Dire. (But first an aside: is that correct usage for "via", since I am linking to the Volokh post, and not to the site that the post references? A pdf of the decision is here.)

The trial court barred counsel from Googling prospective jurors. Although the appeals court declined to reverse the verdict, noting that the plaintiff did not demonstrate that his case was prejudiced by the trial court's ruling. Plaintiff could not point to any juror that was unqualified or that he would have peremptorily excused. I'll be that was an awkward moment during oral argument.

I am inclined to agree with the appellate court, but I think it is a closer call than they make it. There should be room for discretion in how a trial judge manages his courtroom, and this judge surely thought that he was being fair-- the plaintiff didn't have a laptop, and wasn't Googling, and the judge thought he was leveling the playing field.

| Comments:
Might it not have been fairer to have the court lend a laptop to the other side's counsel? Surely somebody had one around. Or could the person on trial not have pleaded to the judge for more competent (more techie), counsel?
 

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