Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Social Media's Impact Felt In Criminal Justice System

People's fascination with social media has led to folks posting nearly every aspect of their lives to their Facebook page or Twitter. There was an interesting story over at Boston.com about a Massachusetts Appeals Court decision regarding instructions given to jurors including admonitions about social media. 
“Jurors must separate and insulate their jury service from their digital lives,’’ the court said in a ruling involving a Plymouth Superior Court case in which several jurors made comments on Facebook during a trial. Those posts in turn elicited responding posts from friends.

“Instructions not to talk or chat about the case should expressly extend to electronic communications and social media,’’ the court added in its little-noticed ruling two weeks ago.
What seems common sense to those who work in the criminal justice system is not not obvious to citizens who will make up the jury pool or who may be witnesses in criminal trials. I'm sure that we'll see more of this pop up in jury instructions across the country.

One trend I'm also seeing in the sleepy little burg where I work, is the number of victims who are locating their stolen property on Craigslist or other similar sites. There was this humorous piece over at Time Magazine about a Washington, DC man who found his stolen bicycle on Craigslist and then stole it back from thief. While we haven't had folks steal their stolen property back, we've fielded a number of calls from citizens who've found their stolen property online. We're always more than happy to meet with the seller to discuss the origins of the items they're selling.

How is social media and sites like Craigslist affecting your agency? Do you have personnel savvy enough to work cases that involve social media or sites like Craigslist?


  1. Is there a reference for this quote? Just wondering

  2. Vikki, The link to the original story is the red text that says "interesting story over at Boston.com". Is that what you are looking for?


I reserve the right to remove defamatory, libelous, inappropriate or otherwise stupid comments. If you are a spammer or are link baiting in the comments, a pox be upon you. The same goes for people trying to sell stuff. Your comment will be deleted without mercy.