Bristol Myers

Attorney-at-Law

Criminal Law Austin, Texas

Blog

Shut your Face(book)

August 30th, 2009

My advice? If you are facing criminal charges or if you might be involved in litigation of any sort, get off Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and any other social media you are currently using.

This article from Texas Lawyer writer, Miriam Rozen, reinforces the point that the life you’re exposing to all your “friends” can and will be used against you in a court of law. Sadly, the article points out that some lawyers, who should know better, can’t seem to avoid getting caught up in the mix.

One of the first things I do in cases where there is a person claiming to be a “victim” of a crime is a little light cyberstalking. It is amazing what you can find out about a person online, but nothing is better than having a victim or hostile witness in a criminal trial confess the entirety of their sordid life on a social media site.

Case in point: A couple of years ago, when MySpace was the hottest thing, a client came to me charged with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon. A bar fight broke out involving several female acquaintances of the members of a local collegiate athletic team.

During the melee, one of the ladies sustained a deep cut which she attributed to my client smashing a beer bottle on the table and using the jagged remains to slash her. Using information we gleaned from her MySpace page, we were able to show that the “victim” (who listed her employment as “Grade A Bitch” and who repeatedly referred to herself as a “thug”) in fact had a considerable axe to grind against my client.

This, in combination with certain physical evidence, supported our position that the “victim” cut herself on broken glass while fighting on the floor.

The difference? As originally charged, my client faced 2-20 years in prison for aggravated assault. Thanks to MySpace, she paid a small fine on a ticket for Disorderly Conduct-Fighting in Public.

Share & Interact