In recent years, Twitter has become a platform for many people – especially celebrities and even the President – to express displeasure with others and trade barbs back and forth. These Twitter feuds are common, with people hiding behind their keyboards throwing insults at one another. You may not imagine that such Tweets can be used against you in a court of law, however, this is exactly what happened to one New Jersey woman.
The woman was charged with simple assault after she was accused of hitting her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend in the face with a high-heeled shoe. Aside from the ex-boyfriend, no one else witnessed the assault, including the security guard who escorted the accused out of the party. However, at her trial, prosecutors introduced evidence that the defendant had Tweeted at the alleged victim after the incident, saying, “how u cring in a corner with a shoe to ya face [expletive]”
The Tweet was used to prove that the defendant did actually hit her in the face with a shoe, as she appeared to be taunting her about it later. The defendant was found guilty and on appeal, her defense attorney argued that the Tweet was wrongfully admitted because authentication under the current rules of evidence was not sufficient for a social media posting. She claimed a screenshot was not enough to prove that she was the one who composed and posted the Tweet.
However, the Tweet had the defendant’s photo and Twitter handle next to it and the victim testified that the Tweet was in direct response to something she Tweeted at the defendant. The court found that this was enough to authenticate the Tweet and no additional rules need to apply to social media postings.
Everyone should be extremely careful what they post on social media if they are suspected of a crime or have already been charged. Even if you delete a Tweet or a Facebook status update, it can still be recovered by the proper authorities. Therefore, it is best to stay off social media completely and certainly not to address anything regarding your case or the incidents that led to your case online.
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David C. Barry, Attorney at Law provides the highest quality of defense representation for individuals facing criminal charges in New Jersey. If you would like to discuss your situation, please do not hesitate to contact our office today.