Patt Morrison for October 4, 2011

From Conrad Murray to Casey Anthony, how social media is impacting jury selection and trial strategy

Social media and trials

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Trial consultants are now using data collected from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter

The manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson’s personal doctor, Conrad Murray, streamed live from the courtroom Tuesday. Increasingly social media sites and the blogosphere are crowded with opinions about every twist and turn in the case. Legal experts say those comments are expected to influence the way the defense and prosecution make their cases to the jury.

Trial observer Diana Greninger researches trial strategies at Trial Consultants Inc. and told KPCC's Patt Morrison on Tuesday that social media will only be one aspect of the lawyer's strategy.

“It’s not by any means to be used 100 percent for the strategy. It just guides us as to, you know, what we should focus on, what people like to see, what bores them, what entices them, what makes them lean one way or the other, which is what the jurors are actually gonna do,” she said.

Greninger added that attorneys should take online comments with a grain of salt, since the public only sees a small portion of the evidence that jurors do.

WEIGH IN:


What do you think, does social media impact how you see the case? Should lawyers use it as part of their strategy?

Guests:

Karen North, director, USC’s Annenberg Program on Online Communities

Diana Greninger, research director, Trial Consultants Inc., a trial consulting firm

Shepard Kopp, criminal defense attorney; has worked on high profile trials of Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder, Scott Peterson, Chris Brown, and more


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