Are you under investigation?  Facing prosecution?  It’s 2014 and times are much different than they were even 5 years ago. It’s best that you are well aware that anything you post on any social media platform can and will be used in courtrooms.  It’s all too often that inappropriate details of day to day lives are posted on social media. You need the best criminal defense attorney you can fine.

Pictures and videos posted, often times, are innocent, but become compelling and very convincing evidence when used in a criminal case. These images often influence a judge to impose more serious sentencing.  I have seen photos of underage drinking, drug use, posts and “check ins” of the exact location and time that a crime took place, posts of premeditation, conspiracy, boasting about a crime committed, and beyond. Keep in mind, each photo, video and post is time stamped.

An example – a suspected New York gang member posted photos on Facebook showing him flashing gang signs and making incriminating statements, including references to past crimes and threats. Some of it was private, some public, but one of his friends gave access to his Facebook account to law enforcement and all evidence collected was deemed legit because the gang member lost all claims to privacy when he shared all the dirty details with his friends on Facebook. The judge ruled, “legitimate expectation of privacy ended when he disseminated posts to his ‘friends’ because those ‘friends’ were free to use the information however they wanted – including sharing it with the government.”

Law enforcement looks at all the public information that is posted on social media.  Then, if they need to see what someone has posted only to their friends, they will often create fake accounts and “friend” the suspects they are following.  Furthermore they can request private data from all the social networks if they believe there is an imminent threat.

Cincinnati brought down a local street gang and arrested 71 people in 2008 after a nine month investigation that utilized social media to identify key members of the gang.  They used the University of Cincinnati’s Institute of Crime Science, and a 22 year old girl to mine information. Gang members were boasting, plotting, setting up drug deals and bragging, even uploading videos all over social media.

The Bottom Line: Law enforcement IS using social media to gather evidence in criminal cases. They are checking daily for information to investigate criminal offenses. It’s helping them solve crimes more quickly.  If you are at the center of a criminal investigation, it’s best to shut down your social media. OR, don’t post anything. Keep quiet. If you have anything damaging posted, I will work to have the evidence dismissed and even excluded.  Call me right away.  513-260-2099