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ABA: Lawyers can scour jurors’ social media sites

Associated Press - June 22, 2014 10:57 am

A man accused of killing and wounding people in Mississippi, New Mexico and Kansas in February has waived a hearing.

Lawyers have been given the green light to scan the social media sites of jurors.

The American Bar Association says it’s ethical for lawyers to scour online for publicly available musings of citizens called for jury service – and even jurors in deliberations.

But the ABA does warn lawyers against actively “following” or “friending” jurors or otherwise invading their private Internet areas.

The “formal opinion” was issued in April and will serve as an ethical guideline for the nation’s lawyers. The ABA’s ethics committee began reviewing the issue about two years ago and concluded that looking at Facebook posts, Twitter tweets and other information gathered passively is ethical research.