#MistrialFail: How to Keep the Web and Social Media from Tanking Your Trial (On Demand Seminar)

MCLE Credits: 1.0
Ethics Credits Included: 0.0

MCLE Credit: 1.0 (Ethics: 0.0)
Live-Interactive Credit: 0.0
Designation Credit: 1.0 Trial Practice/Litigation (Designations Information)
Price: $79 (Includes a downloadable audio version.)
Viewable Through: 02/28/2025


A pre-recorded streaming video replay of the January 2022 webcast, #MistrialFail: How to Keep the Web and Social Media from Tanking Your Trial.

Course Outline

  • Learn what you need to know about preserving social media evidence
  • Discover how to deal with juror communications in a digital age
  • Understand what you need to know even after the trial is over

As social media and the Internet permeate our lives, trial procedures written pre-Internet struggle to keep up. Communications in cyberspace can pop up into the courtroom in unwelcome ways that can tank even the most carefully prepared cases. In this seminar, participants learn how to avoid cyber-problems before, during, and after trial.

Pretrial preservation of evidence has been changed forever with the massive volume of social media correspondence. Learn what must be preserved and how to make sure you cover your bases for liability. During trial, jurors text each other, non-jurors, and even liveblog their experiences in real time. In addition, the temptation of jurors doing their own online “research” poses grave dangers to both civil and criminal cases. Does the rule on witnesses really exist the way we expect when jurors have endless access to communicate with non-jurors during a trial? On the other hand, is it possible or wise to completely cut them off from all communications in this day and age? Do you realize how often jurors Google the parties, the attorneys, the judge, and criminal defendants? Learn how to keep this from creating an unfair result. Even post-trial, there are issues involving discussing cases that can land even careful practitioners in hot water.

This seminar reviews recent case studies, case law, and jury instructions from around the country to prepare Virginia practitioners for the cyber challenges that are already here and those that certainly are on the way.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Preservation of Social Media Evidence Before Trial
  • Communications Among Jurors During Trial
  • Juror “Research” online
  • Post-Trial Issues
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Hon. Kimberley S. White, 10th Judicial Circuit of Virginia / Halifax
Brendan U. Dunning, The Law Office of Brendan U. Dunning / Halifax


Hon. Kimberley S. White, 10th Judicial Circuit of Virginia / Halifax

Judge Kimberley S. White graduated from Mary Washington College (now University of Mary Washington), in Fredericksburg, VA, in 1985 where she received degrees in English (Literature Concentration) and American Studies. She went on to receive her Juris Doctor in 1988 from Walter F. George School of Law of Mercer University, Macon, GA. Judge White practiced law at Woods, Rogers, P.L.C. (formerly Woods, Rogers & Hazlegrove) in Danville, VA, as an Associate and as a Principal. She served as Commonwealth’s Attorney for the County of Halifax, Virginia from January 2004-2012. Earlier in her career she was an Assistant Public Defender and a Special Assistant United States Attorney. Judge White was appointed by the Governor as a Judge for the Tenth Judicial Circuit of the Commonwealth of Virginia in August 2012 and was elected by the General Assembly in January 2013.

Active in the Virginia State Bar, Judge White chaired the Committee on Lawyer Discipline, which oversees the Bar’s disciplinary system, for 4 years. She has lectured and taught on ethics, trial advocacy, and HIPAA to attorneys throughout the country. Judge White also has taught classes on gang prosecutions and child pornography detection to law enforcement audiences. She was honored by Virginia Lawyer Media by being named to the 2011 Class of the Influential Women of Virginia. The year prior she and another elected prosecutor were the first-ever sitting Commonwealth’s Attorneys to be elected as Fellows of the Virginia Law Foundation.

A life-long Virginian, Judge White has been married for nearly 30 years to her husband, Dave. They have 2 children and a chocolate lab, who keep them busy cheering on the Hokies, attending recitals and plays, and playing catch.

Brendan U. Dunning, The Law Office of Brendan U. Dunning / Halifax

Brendan U. Dunning has tried cases as a prosecutor, defense attorney, and civil litigator. He worked as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for seven years in the County of Halifax. From 2004-2008, he served as the Regional Drug Prosecutor for seven Virginia counties. In addition, he served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Western District of Virginia. In 2003, he became the first and only prosecutor to obtain a conviction by jury trial under the Virginia Drug Kingpin Statute, a life sentence which was affirmed on appeal in Dunaway v. Commonwealth, 52 Va. App. 281.

Mr. Dunning has taught trial practice, impeachment, criminal law, and other legal subjects since 2001. He has taught for the Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Services Council, the National District Attorney’s Association, Virginia CLE®, and several local organizations training attorneys and law enforcement personnel.  In 2008, Mr. Dunning taught drug prosecution at a national meeting of prosecutors in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mr. Dunning has tried several high-profile jury trials in Southside Virginia. He also maintains a busy appellate practice. He has been a contributor to National Public Radio and has been published in The Economist and the Wall Street Journal.

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