Evidence From Internet and Social Media in Criminal Cases

Palmer verses Metro PCS, court holds, the company is defending itself from over time violation and is saying “look I know you were not working because you are on Facebook. I want all of your Facebook record showing all the time you spend on Facebook because you were not working and not deserved to be paid”. So its actually really clever way of Facebook, I’m going to defeat your claim for over time by proving you were not really working you were on Facebook, court says that that’s a huge fishing expedition that I’m not going to get into. You need something better than that but by the way goes outta the way, there is nothing special about Facebook.

I would do the same thing if you ask for the records in their basement because you’re not just targeted enough. So I’m not protecting it because its Facebook, I’m protecting it because you are on fishing expedition.

Keller versus National farmers is actually an insurance case and it’s an auto accident insurance case, again they go after social media trying to show, if can let me get into the social media I’m going to show this person and its various aspects of them just not being a very desirable plaintiff. Once again the court says “you need to come back with the little bit more of the fishing. That’s just not enough there”.

The last one that is interesting to me at least is EEOC verses Simple storage, not only do they once again says “there is nothing special about social media,” in that case they crossed the threshold and the court ordered production of a humongous chunk of their Facebook posts.

Specifically the EEOC was seeking emotional distress damages and the company said look we know their Facebook posts on there, we have seen some of them where she is happy and having a good time, we want the rest. They said no they go to court, what the court orders. You’re going to give them all posts which reveal your emotional state. Turn that one over your head for a second, “All posts that review your emotional state, all posts that relate to an event be likely to produce significant emotional state. Okay all posts that put either of those kinds of posts in context.”

So you want me to hit prank on Facebook and hand it to me. There is not a lot carved out there and I really don’t know what the court was intending to exclude with that description but it doesn’t sound like it excludes a lot and the problem it it’s relevant. This person has kept an online dairy that all Facebook is. We have got not gone from going no one can read the dairy to I pray that everyone will read my dairy and like it.

Finally these are the 3 cases on admissibility,Tanner versus state, this is a criminal case so before you through up your arms. Oh my gosh! Yeah, in the criminal context, we do this. Standard rules for authentication evidence applies to social media and including use of circumstantial evidence to tie the defendant to the evidence, the defendant was that saying “I didn’t make those posts, someone got access to my computer and made those posts”.

Judge said “yeah tell it to the jury. I’m going to let the post in, that goes to wait, not admissibility. It says it’s yours, that’s enough to get it in.”

Griffin V State Marilyn, social media may only be authenticated through quote

“The testimony of the crater documentation of the internet history or hard drive the [inaudible] creator’s computer or information obtained directly from the social networking site in much higher level of verification required to tie a person to a post.
Parker versus State Delaware, they have examined the two approaches and say Texas approach seems to make more sense, we are going to follow it. States are continuing to struggle with this. So don’t assume this is static and not subject to change. With that I’m out of time. I really appreciate. You guys have a wonderful rest of your afternoon.

The Attorneys
  • Francisco Hernandez
  • Daniel Hernandez
  • Phillip Hall
  • Rocio Martinez