Florida Criminal Investigations and Facebook

When people call my office, they want to hire a Jacksonville criminal lawyer.  They are in trouble for something or they have a legal problem.  This can range from a basic Florida suspended drivers license issue to a Jacksonville aggravated battery charge.  They are coming for help and advice.  Jacksonville criminal attorneys approach each case different.  Each case has different facts and defenses.  Every case has different laws that are applicable.  One thing that remains constant, your attorney does not want you talking about your case to other people.  You have the right to remain silent.  This is usually a good idea while your case is pending.  You paid for a Jacksonville lawyer, so talk to her.  Let her do the talking for you.

In the past 10 years, things have changed.  Social media changed the way we communicate with other people.  Before, you could say something to a friend and there was not a record.  Now, you post your thoughts on Facebook.  Even after you have deleted your status post, it was still out there.  Someone may still have it.  Here is an example.  A client comes into my office.  He has been charged with Jacksonville aggravated assault with a firearm.  He tells me that he was defending himself.  He feared for his life.  He acted lawfully under Floridas self defense laws.  One of the first things that I do is see what I can find on the internet about the alleged victim.  You would be amazed with what people post on Facebook.  In some cases, they post evidence that shows that they were likely the original aggressor.  They may even post about the incident that resulted in aggravated assault charges.  This works both ways.  The defendant may post something incriminating.  This could be used against him in court.

As a Jacksonville criminal lawyer, I use Facebook and the Internet as an investigation tool.  The police and state attorneys office do the same thing.  When you are investigating these cases, you see things that will make you cringe.  I have had Jacksonville juvenile crime cases where I have read awful things that children are saying to one another.  These are things that we did not deal with as kids.  If you were bullied, it was at school.  You could always go home and get away from it.  Not anymore.  Our teenagers are logging into Facebook and attacking one another.  Can you imagine being bullied for 18 hours a day?  Can you image waking up to 30 alerts notifying you before you get to school that everyone hates you?  This is terrible.

I normally write about criminal law on this Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer blog.  I was inspired to write this post today, because of something that I read.  I read about a teenager that committed suicide.  Three boys were arrested in connection with her death.  It is not, because they committed homicide.  They were arrested for sexual battery “in connection with the alleged rape of a girl who subsequently committed suicide.”  “The incident happened at an unsupervised house party” in California last September.  However, the boys were arrested yesterday.  “Santa Clara County Sheriff’s detectives say Audrie Pott had too much to drink at a party and became a victim” of the sexual assault.  The Pott’s family attorney stated, “She had no idea what occurred until she woke up the following morning and had some drawings on her body and in some private areas.” “The boys are accused of taking photos of the attack and sharing them at school, as well as texting them and posting them online.  After learning that photos had been posted on the Internet, the 15-year-old Potts wrote in an online post that her life was ruined. She took her own life a few days later.” Go to News4Jax.com for the entire story.

One person is dead.  The lives of three boys are over.  They were all children.  What is going on?  I would say that parents need to monitor their children’s Facebook activity, but I have seen parents jump right into the Facebook bashing arena with their children.  It makes it scary to have children today.  Is the world changing or were we always like this, but now we can see it on the computer?  My heart goes out to the Pott’s family and the families of the accused boys.

Comments are closed.