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Misusing Social Media in America’s Legal System


When Rod Blagojevich began his corruption trial, he was admonished by the judge to refrain from tweeting.  Since that time, I’ve been thinking about other social media behavior that’s probably a bad idea in the legal system.

Most normal people consider encounters with the legal system to be embarrassing or simply a pain to deal with.  Sometimes they’re both.  Despite this prevailing attitude, some people don’t stop to think before they tweet, update Facebook or check in.  Please don’t be like the three examples I’m about to tell you about.

1.  Checking in to court is a bad idea.  A friend of mine has a nasty little court problem she didn’t want to broadcast to her network, but she still wanted to check in on foursquare for the points.  Even though she didn’t broadcast the check ins, the second time there, she became the mayor and that did get published network wide.  Ooops!  Unless you want to explain to your friends and family why you’re in the District court, don’t check in.

2.  On the other side of the law is a Detroit juror who couldn’t wait to find the defendant guilty.  She updated her Facebook status saying,

it was “gonna be fun to tell the defendant they’re guilty.”

Now she could be facing jail time for contempt!  How did she get exposed?  The defense attorney’s son was looking up all the jurors and found Ms. Jons Facebook account unprotected.  I don’t know what was more foolish…discussing the case or not using the privacy settings on her account.  We don’t always think before we post something, but we can certainly limit the number of people who see it.

3.  Don’t tweet about going to jail.  Unless you’re an up and coming rapper who needs the street cred, don’t tweet about your jailhouse experiences.  Arguably mentally unstable, Amy Steele blogs about her ex-boyfriend who now has a restraining order against her.  When she decided to leave a voice mail to him, the police wound up at her door.  She tweeted,

Spent last night in the clink. Thanks for finding a phone call threatening Brian Schofer. 11:48 AM Aug 27th via Twitterrific

Later,

pretty sure i’m going to prison as even my mom blames me not the a-hole who took out restraining order. guess it solves my issues. #fb about 8 hours ago via TweetDeck

You can read more about Ms. Steele here and the full NSFW or for the easily offended version here.

Hopefully, you won’t have any the problems these case studies did, but if you do, now you know what not to do;

1.  Don’t check in at court or jail

2.  Don’t post jury information until after the trial is over

3.  Don’t tweet about your legal problems.  For that matter, you probably shouldn’t tweet about medical or relationship problems either.  Save that for the face to face.

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  1. September 1, 2010 at 12:01 am

    By far the best account of Amy’s journey can be found here:

    http://www.mrdestructo.com/2010/02/amy-steele-revisited-handy-jaunt.html

    Like

  2. koi free semi vegan
    September 3, 2010 at 12:47 am

    So why is our Amy on radio silence? She can’t shut her mouth to save her life. And if she thinks she has anything to offer, well, that may be. If she puts a bag over her face.

    Like

  3. koi free semi vegan
    September 3, 2010 at 12:51 am

    I agree with Kim. Mr. Destructo had two fine articles on our Amy that were top shelf. She pulled all her insanity, but it was preserved for all time.

    Like

  4. koi free semi vegan
    September 3, 2010 at 12:53 am

    Great crazy pic, Nigel.

    Like

  5. October 3, 2010 at 6:17 am

    Oh ho ho. The psycho is back at it. Craziest and least dignified woman on the Internet indeed.

    Like

  6. July 27, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    awesome post, I still have no clue how others have NO CLUE about social media and the personal limits they should be using.

    Like

  7. Chris
    February 25, 2013 at 1:51 am

    Jesus Christ I just went on a date with this Amy Steele nutjob. She’s far crazier in person. Wish I’d taken time to do the research before.

    Like

  8. March 20, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    Still crazy. . . And she wonders why no one will hire her when *this* is on her home page.
    Amy Steele ‏@msamysteele

    Harrowing decision: how much pain is my pony in, can she recover, should she be put down. I’ll DIE if she is.

    Like

  1. August 31, 2010 at 10:37 am

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