Category Archives: Case Study


In response to our post two weeks ago identifying widespread social media abuse by jurors that could quite possibly lead to mistrials, a frightened prosecutor and others have inquired about how exactly juror’s social media data should be collected and what the various techniques are. So this follow-up post discusses the mechanics of proactively monitoring jurors that are both empaneled and potential members of your pool.

First and foremost, it is important to understand what not to do. Do not fire up and start following jurors. They will receive a notice that they’re being followed, which is improper under various legal ethics rules. Also, it is not effective technically, as you cannot access or search past tweets very effectively (which are often just as important as ones in real time), and it is very difficult to monitor up to several dozen jurors in your pool.

The right software will allow you to employ several techniques and methods, which are most effective when used in conjunction to comprehensively and ethically search for all publicly available juror social media.

The first method is to set a geo-fence around the courthouse and immediate area. This will collect tweets and Instagram posts in real time, as well as going back several days if needed, to collect any tweet that is geo-located in that area. Here is an example of such an effort:geo fence

Another advantage of this method is that it will capture any geo-located social media posts by not only jurors at the courthouse but also by opposing counsel or witnesses, which happens more often than you would think. Expert witnesses in particular can be prolific on social media as they promote their services and their personal brand. They also often Tweet and share approvingly links to industry articles and blog articles, which can then be considered to be part of their opinion record.

The second method is to set keywords such as #juryduty or “jury duty” across the public feed of social media sites. This will cast a wider net, returning posts from all over the country if not the world. But with the right tools you can quickly be able to filter out the ones that are within your geographical location. This will also capture posts that are not Geotagged by the user.  If your case has any media attention, even just locally or within industry media verticals, it is a very good idea to set up keywords that can identify any mention of your case in public feeds.

And just for fun, here are the top 5 controversial juror posts from just the past few days:

bad tweets

And finally, once you have identified an impaneled juror or a member of the potential pool, and have their social media profile names,  you can quickly and anonymously collect all their past and ongoing public social media content through special software such as X1 Social Discovery. This also has the advantage of instantaneous and unified search across all available social media streams from multiple jurors. You also can set up email alerts so that if a juror or other person of interest posts anything, you will immediately be alerted to that post. This is also an effective technique when following opposing counsel or key witnesses. And it’s often a good idea to your monitor your own clients as well.

For more information about how to conduct effective social medial investigations, please contact us, or request a free demo version of X1 Social Discovery.

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Filed under Best Practices, Case Study, Legal Ethics & Social Media, Social Media Investigations, Uncategorized

Search Reveals Hundreds of Improper Juror Social Media Posts Per Day

The Federal Judicial Center (“FJC”) recently published a report surveying 952 federal district court judges to identify the scope of jurors’ improper use of social media during trial and how the courts are addressing the problem. The FJC’s report, Jurors’ Use of Media During Trials and Deliberations, reflects that despite various prevention efforts, jurors continue to use Facebook, Twitter, Google and other sites in several, and that the courts continue to struggle to detect such usage. According to the survey results, 30 judges identified incidents of improper juror social media usage,

Such misconduct can easily result in a mistrial or even reversal of judgement. In State v. Smith, Sept. 10, 2013, the Tennessee Supreme court vacated a first degree murder conviction on the sole grounds that one of the jurors communicated with a prosecution witness during trial via Facebook. The court lamented that Internet and social media “has exponentially increased the risk….of extra-judicial communications between jurors and third parties.” This decision is but one example of this common occurrence of juror misconduct through social media use, requiring attorneys and jury consultants to engage in on-going passive monitoring of publicly available social media information.

In fact we recently did our own search of the Twittersphere with X1 Social Discovery, and uncovered several hundred improper Juror tweets in a single day (1/13/2016). Here is a small sampling:

juror tweets














(click to enlarge)

It is thus no surprise lawyers are increasingly using Twitter to investigate and monitor potential and impaneled jurors. However, this type of monitoring activity can lead to serious attorney ethics violations if direct or even indirect communications are sent to the juror as a result of such monitoring activities. (See e.g. New York County Law Association Formal Opinion No. 743, May 18, 2011). Proxies hired by attorneys, including eDiscovery service providers, investigators and jury consultants are subject to these restrictions, which can also apply to social media communications with witnesses or opposing parties who are represented by counsel.

For this reason, X1 Social Discovery features a specialized “public follow” feature that enables access to all the past Tweets of a specified user (up to 3200 past tweets) and any new Tweets in real-time without generating a formal “follow” request with the resulting problematic communication.. These legal ethics rules concerning indirect social media communications underscores the importance of employing best practices technology to search and collect social media evidence for investigative and eDiscovery purposes.

Collecting evidence in a manner that prevents, or at minimum, does not require that attorneys and their proxies directly or indirectly communicate with the subjects from whom they are collecting social media evidence is a core requirement for solutions that truly address investigative and eDiscovery requirements for social media. In addition to preserving and authenticating social media evidence in a proper manner, X1 Social Discovery provides fast and comprehensive searching of the data in a manner unmatched by any other technology.

It can even potentially prevent a possible mistrial through early detection of a juror’s improper Tweets or Facebook postings.

UPDATED:  Attorney Ignatius Grande, co-chair of the New York State Bar Committee on Social Media, contacted me in response to this post, to point to the Committee’s recently published Social Media Jury Instruction Report. The report describes the scope and challenges from juror social media use during voir dire and trial, as well as proposed amendments to standard jury instructions address such juror misconduct.


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January 27, 2016 · 6:12 PM

Dr. Michael Levitt: World Famous Scientist, Nobel Laureate, and X1 Power User

Michael Levitt Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013

Michael Levitt
Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013

Recently I had the distinct honor of speaking with Dr. Michael Levitt, a 2013 Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry, and highly regarded Professor of Structural Biology at Stanford University. The Nobel Committee awarded Dr. Levitt a Nobel in recognition of his research in computational biology, “for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems.” He is also a “huge fan” of X1. When Dr. Levitt and I spoke, he discussed his daily use of X1 Search and how it is essential to his research and professional productivity. “X1 saves me many hours per week,” per his unsolicited email to us at X1 that initiated our dialogue, “I cannot survive without it.”

A computer-savvy scientist, Dr. Levitt relies on a Macintosh laptop with VMWare virtualization running a Windows OS, where he stores 200 gigabytes of data, including 40 gigabytes of over 300,000 emails, and of course relies on X1 to make sense of it all. “Next to my computer itself, X1 is the one tool I can’t do without,” explained Dr. Levitt.  “People use the term ‘big data’ a lot these days, but the most important ‘big data’ for me is the 200 gigabytes on my laptop that consists of decades of research, important communications with fellow academics, and other key resources.  X1 enables me to find what I am looking for instantaneously. It is a very effective interface to all of my information.”

Dr. Levitt credits X1’s lightning-fast, iterative and faceted search capability, along with X1’s reliability and stability, as enabling him to quickly and tactically sift through 200 gigabytes of emails and academic research. “X1 is an intimate part of my workflow — it is essentially an extension of my mind when I engage in information retrieval, which is many times an hour during my workday.”

In addition to locating his research and other critical data, X1 proved very handy to Dr. Levitt in managing an important email response project. “When I was awarded the Nobel, I received over two thousand congratulatory emails. I used X1 to cross reference my sent folder to make sure I replied to them all. That X1 shortcut saved me several hours alone!”

Dr. Levitt’s testimonial echoes similar sentiments expressed by many high-powered business professionals at top financial institutions, major law firms, consulting companies and science and engineering firms. They all rely on X1 to dramatically enhance their productivity by quickly locating their information amongst an ever-increasing avalanche of emails and other data.

We here at X1 extend our congratulations to Dr. Levitt for his 2013 Nobel prize in Chemistry, as well as our sincere thanks to him for reaching out to us and sharing his enthusiastic feedback on X1 search, which, incidentally, is completely gratis. “Just keep developing great software” is all he asked for in return.


For more information about X1 Search 8, including a free 14 day trial, please visit here >

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