Monday, August 12, 2013

Facebook Confession Leads to Arrest, Murder Charge

Social Media Postings Can Be Used as Evidence

Social media is still buzzing over a Facebook posting last week by a Miami-area man who confessed to killing his wife and included a photo.

Derek Medina later turned himself into police, who now have the posting as evidence they can use against the man.

Who knows whether Medina merely wanted to confess or if he was seeking notoriety. He did turn himself into police later and is now facing murder charges. Whatever the case may be, it’s clear that  Facebook has become more than just a place for people to post a photo of their latest meal or their latest vacation.

Other Facebook "Confessions"

Indeed, some people have been rather indiscreet about some activities that could land them in jail. A round-up of such postings was compiled by the HappyPlace website and is titled, “The most idiotic confessions to criminal activity ever posted on Facebook.” It features various Facebook postings, including one of a man who appears to be driving while holding a beer can in his hand. His text: “Perfect way to end a hard day.”

We have previously touched upon the topic of Facebook postings being used as evidence. Clearly, a confession would be clear evidence that could be used in a court of law, but law enforcement authorities may also be interested in more mundane postings that could establish a motive, frame of mind, etc. if they are investigating a crime.

Do Judges Allow Facebook Postings to Be Subpoenaed?

In general, judges will allow Facebook postings to be subpoenaed as evidence if these are directly relevant to the case at hand and not just fishing expeditions.

Even if you are not knowingly the subject of a criminal investigation, you should be aware that your Facebook postings are not private. Obviously, whoever you have “friended” is privy to your postings, depending on your privacy levels. Any of these people may easily take a screen shot of any posting you make.

Weighing Privacy Rights

Information gleaned from Facebook postings and other social media communications has been allowed as evidence when judges believe that the information is directly relevant to a case and not a blatant violation of someone’s privacy.

Postings on other social media networks such as Twitter are similarly subject to criminal prosecution if the content is deemed threatening or otherwise suspected to be of a criminal nature.

If you need a criminal defense attorney, you may contact our offices Aretsky & Aretsky.

Photo credit: MoneyBlogNewz

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