Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Are Courts Ready for These Technological Innovations?

Three recent artcles/events speak to the use and potential uses of technology in the courtroom. First, The NY Times reports on the use of Google searches to investigate potential jurors. Knowing what a juror has listed as a "like" or "dislike" on her facebook page could be invaluable information in divining any perceieved or subconscious bias either in favor of or against your client.  And remember, as we were strongly advised in an earlier post, "You don't want smart people on your jury!"

The second interesting consideration for technonolgy comes from watching the Watson computer compete against humans on Jeopardy.  As this editorial from the National Law Journal queries, what possibilities might a Watson in the courtroom open up? Could you do instantaneous legal research with plain language inquiries?  Might you be able to challange the veracity of a witness' testimony, perhaps even an expert, with an instantaneous search for contradictory facts?

Finally, last Fall reporters in the sensational capital murder trial of Steven Hayes used Twitter to report events directly from the courtroom. As Hayes' co-defendant faces trial, the presiding judge has denied a defense request to ban twitter use in the courtroom.  The defense claims that the sight of reporters sponatneously tweeting will taint jurors' perception of the imporance of the evidence. This new avenue of courtroom reporting is certain to be fully explored.

Watson v. Humans on Jeopardy:

High Tech Jury Selection:


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