Tuesday, December 23, 2014

By Emma Witman ewitman@gainesvilletimes.com

POSTED: July 13, 2014 12:23 a.m.

Online social media profiles have become a seamless extension of our real-world personalities. But with broader access to sharing your life and personality via the Internet come implications, including with the criminal justice system.

“To the extent that prospective jurors choose to make information concerning themselves available to the public at large in social media, it would certainly be appropriate to use that information in the jury selection process,” District Attorney Lee Darragh said.

And this spring, the American Bar Association made it formally known it’s within ethical boundaries for lawyers to search a juror’s or potential juror’s public Internet presence, including posts made by the juror before or during a trial.

“I think it is useful,” said Brad Morris, chief public defender for the Northeastern Judicial Circuit.
After all, in everyday life people check on others as a passing whim, while dredging up information for jury selection serves a different purpose.

“It is the time during jury selection that the attorneys try to ascertain, through questions, if jurors have any preconceived biases or prejudgments,” said Gainesville attorney John Breakfield. “It is crucial for both sides that the jurors selected make a decision based on legally presented evidence in court, not outside influences.”
Voir dire, the process of evaluating potential jurors, is French for “to speak the truth,” he said. The practice is sensible for a truth-seeking process that has always beckoned lawyers to parse any other publicly available information.

“Facebook, Twitter and other social media are the public record of modern times, unless certain privacy settings are in place,” Breakfield said.

And depending on settings, certain facts might be unearthed that would otherwise never see the light: Political views, associations, perhaps even a clearly stated viewpoint on a case that has been concealed or overlooked.

Source: http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/section/6/article/101996/

Friday, December 5, 2014

We are pleased to introduce our social media pre-employment screening and monitoring services now available to employers and staffing agencies. Use of social media as an employee screening tool has become much more prevalent over the past few years and as such it is a necessary part of the screening process to research publicly accessible online presence and social media. Much like a background check, social media can provide a wealth of information about potential hires that typical interviews won’t reveal. This information also gives you an edge in choosing candidates. People tend to be much more candid online than in person.
What is social media screening?
Even more so than a background check, social media screening and profiling provides a wealth of information regarding potential hires that a typical interview is able to provide. Social media screening can prevent a potentially embarrassing situation in the future with a potential hire by providing information that is publicly accessible and available on the internet.
Social media screening should be done after a face to face interview has been conducted as details that are covered under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 may be discovered, and should be acquired by a third-party to review the information. Title IV makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sex, religion, race, color or national origin. Social media screening can reveal characteristics that are off limits in a normal interview.

What should an employer be looking for that might bear on the worthiness of a job candidate?
  • How does the candidate present him/herself to the public?
  • What type of judgment does the candidate show?
  • Has candidate revealed information about prior jobs or have they revealed potentially confidential information?
  • Does candidate speak negatively of former employers?
  • Does he/she interact in a way that makes him/her look like a sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen?
  • Does online speech or behavior appear so egregious that it could affect company reputation?
Social media monitoring is also available for current employees to ensure that they are not releasing potentially private information, to search for the public release of proprietary information, HIPAA violations, violations of company's social media policies, and much more. Our prices are competitive and 24-hour turnaround and same-day reporting are available.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

On 10:09 PM by Alexandria Goddard in , ,    No comments
If you don't believe that jurors are using social media against the court's instructions or they may have connections to those in law enforcement, associated with your case, etc. - just do a simple Google search for news items on juror misconduct. 

This week a juror in an Akron court was dismissed and a mistrial was requested because of her association with the Prosecutor's Office.

AKRON- After about ten hours of deliberations in the murder trial of Shawn Ford, Jr. two jurors were released on Tuesday, one of them because of her Facebook friends list. 

Ford, 20, faces a possible death penalty for the murders of Akron area attorney Jeffrey Schobert and his wife Margaret in April 2013.

The couple was found dead in their New Franklin home where they had been beaten to death with a sledge hammer.

Following lunch on Tuesday, another juror was called into the courtoom alone and questioned about her Facebook friends list that includes Summit County Prosecutor Sheri Bevan Walsh and other high-ranking employees of the prosecutor’s office. 

Jurors who have publicly accessible social media should be reviewed prior to voir dire, and those who do make the jury should be monitored to ensure that there is no misconduct.  

The ABA has recently issued Formal Opinion 466 regarding the use of “electronic social media” (ESM) to obtain publicly accessible information from potential jurors' or litigant's social media presence. The somewhat antiquated court system is trying to deal with the problem of socially networked jurors and either does not have the resources to monitor jurors' social media or simply does not understand the impact of social media - as was the case this morning. On a daily basis we are observing jurors or potential jurors using social media even when they are told not to or there are signs prohibiting the use of cameras in the jury area. This does not deter these individuals from posting photos of other jurors, taking pictures from the jury box or posting information about their grand jury service.

In recent months there have been several findings of derogatory and biased opinions regarding criminal defendants, civil litigants and the judicial process made by jurors on social media - specifically Twitter. Juror social media activity has also recently impacted many legal proceedings, and this becomes costly to both the court and parties involved, as well as creating potential appellate issues. In the age of instant information sharing and round the clock access to huge amounts of information, cases large and small, civil and criminal are being disrupted by juror misconduct. For jurors who are conditioned to access social media regularly, often about even mundane topics, the temptation to post about a trial will be strong. And that is in an ordinary case; in a high-profile matter, it will be almost irresistible.

What are the best measures to prevent these problems from occurring in the first place? Start a dialogue early. Prior to trial, raise and discuss the issue of juror social media use with opposing counsel and raise the concerns, jointly if possible, with the court. Even before voir dire, Xander Business Group can assist trial counsel with research of social media profiles of prospective jurors, and provide information regarding each individual's background, opinions on social and legal issues, professional background, personal biases and other pertinent information.

While the court system has made some progress in advancing its policies...it simply does not have the resources to deal with the emerging and potentially devastating problem of socially networked jurors. Xander Business Group is a company who understands the impact of social media and provides the experience and knowledge to pinpoint potential breaches of information from jurors on social media, and to delve into social media presence to provide a detailed profile of potential jurors.

Juror monitoring and profiling is not the only area which social media can provide pertinent information. We offer the following consulting services:

  • Voir dire profiling and monitoring of prospective jurors via prospective juror list;
  • Social media analysis and/or monitoring of witness/litigants pre and post trial for information relative to case;
  • Social media analysis and target profiles based on witness internet presence;
  • Social media research and retrieval of archived or deleted posts from the internet;