Attorneys turning to social networking for jury selection

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - If you get called for jury duty and show up at the courthouse, there's a chance that attorneys may find out more about you than you want them to know.

Charlotte Lawyer Paul Whitfield has found a new avenue of getting information about his individuals in the jury pool.

"It's the greatest help that's ever been," he said.

The help offered by social networking sites has come to light in recent days during the high profile case involving little Cayle Anthony.

Attorneys in Florida are interviewing potential jurors, while looking directly at their Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.

"If you've got an associate or a clerk sitting there beside you checking him out while questioning him you can find that he would very frequently tell his real feelings," Whitfield said.

While attorney Paul Whitfield embraces the technology, District attorney Andrew Murray says it comes down to courtroom staffing.

"If we had the resources, then there's certainly the opportunity," Murray said. "There's a question if whether you want the jurors to see you working on a computer instead of paying attention to them."

Charlotte attorney Norman Butler believes learning more about jurors by going online in the moment offers insights into how they think.

"Obviously on Facebook you learn things they have preferences for. Things they reject interests, biases," he said.

But does it go too far ?

Attorney Paul Whitfield is concerned that this chapter of social networking has opened up a new series of legal issues, but for now he's onboard with the concept.

He asks, "Well you know what they do with the Twitter and the Facebook ? They usually give their emotions and real feelings about thing. That may be only place you'll ever find it."

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