How Social Networking Sites Are Being Used in Court - - Texoma news, weather and sports

How Social Networking Sites Are Being Used in Court


SHERMAN, TX -- What you post online can and will be used against you. Recent criminal cases across the country have been won or lost because of what's on Myspace and Facebook pages. Deeda Payton looked into how local law enforcement uses these social networking sites.

Many are surprised to learn that courts subpoena these sites directly for information on suspects and even victims, regardless of privacy settings.

More than five million people worldwide use the social networking site Facebook. They post  pictures, thoughts and in some cases, their every move.

But, regardless of your privacy settings, anything you post can be accessed and once you post it is online forever. And, local law enforcement  use it to their advantage. "When detectives are investigating a crime they look at all aspects of a suspect."

Police officers, attorneys and judges use these sites to back up or dismiss allegations in court. "So if you are charged with a drug offense and there's a picture of you at a party smoking a joint. Well that's probably not going to be very helpful."

Local defense attorney, Bob Jarvis, says pictures found on Facebook can be used a solid evidence in a criminal trial. "We've had shots taken off Internet and used for cross-examination. Isn't this your Myspace? Yes. Did you say this on that date? Yes. And that can be very effective information."

For example, Jarvis says he actually won a child abuse case because of a posting an alleged victim put on her Myspace page saying she lied. "And my client was found not guilty."

All of these records can be obtained by a court subpoena, regardless of your privacy settings. The courts can monitor all of your posts back to when you created your account. So, if you are one of the millions of people using social networking sites everyday, keep in mind that like your Miranda Rights, anything you say or post can and will be used against you in a court of law. 
In Texas, courts can subpoena just about anything, not just your Facebook and Myspace records, but even your phone records and that includes text messages.

Deeda Payton, KTEN News.