Attorneys may monitor jurors through online social networks as long as they do not contact the jurors or in any way make their monitoring known to them, the New York County Lawyers’ Association said last week in an ethics opinion. Lawyers may look up information on a potential juror for screening purposes during voir dire and may monitor a juror’s online activity for misconduct during a trial, but “must not ‘friend,’ email, send tweets to jurors or otherwise communicate in any way with the juror, or act in any way by which the juror becomes aware of the monitoring,” the opinion said.

If jurors become aware that an attorney is following them online, it could influence their deliberations, according to the opinion. “Significant ethical concerns would be raised by sending a ‘friend request,’ attempting to connect via LinkedIn.com, signing up for an RSS feed for a juror’s blog or ‘following’ a juror’s Twitter account,” it said.

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