Now that New Jersey courtrooms have Wi-Fi capability, trial lawyers with wireless laptops have a distinct edge: the ability to Google prospective jurors at the counsel table.It was only a matter of time--and as the future lawyers and judges of America (i.e., high school debaters) become increasingly used to (and dependent on) having laptops in their debate rounds, we can expect that trend will only continue.
And an appeals court has given its blessing to the practice, reversing a trial judge who told a lawyer to disconnect lest he gain an unfair advantage.
"That [plaintiff's counsel] had the foresight to bring his laptop computer to court, and defense counsel did not, simply cannot serve as a basis for judicial intervention in the name of 'fairness' or maintaining 'a level playing field,'" the court said on Aug. 30 in Carino v. Muenzen, M.D., A-5491-08.
"The playing field was, in fact, already 'level' because Internet access was open to both counsel, even if only one of them chose to utilize it."
Sep 11, 2010
Google in the courtroom
Eugene Volokh points to a law.com article about one judge's attempt to keep Google out of the courtroom: