E-Guilt: Social Media and the Murder Trial of Casey Anthony


July 5, 2011

Michael J. Sacopulos, JD

Social media appears to be having an impact on jury selection in the murder trial of Casey Anthony, 25, charged with killing her two-year-old daughter Caylee, in 2008.

According to the Associated Press, as prospective jurors answered questions about their background and qualifications to serve, lawyers instantly checked their responses against postings on online media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Prosecutors used a preemptory challenge to prevent the seating of one individual who they said had tweeted after a fender-bender, “Cops in Florida are idiots and completely useless.”

Another prospective juror was excused for cause after he reportedly posted the jury instructions on his Facebook page. According to postings read in court, he also joked online that there was a “book coming soon. lol.”

This is yet another example of how the Internet and particularly social media sites are changing the face on litigation. Gone are the days when the lawyers and judges had complete control over evidence and information related to trials.

Companies like Medical Justice now play a key role in assisting individual defendants’ presentation of appropriate online representations of themselves. There can be no doubt that online reputations now can impact litigation.