More and more people are broadcasting their lives on social media these days, sharing posts publicly. The impact of those posts are seen more and more in the courtroom as well.
Are those posts affecting the outcome of any cases? We’re taking a look at the role social media may play in court cases.
Photos and posts on social media may seem like a private or personal part of one’s life. Almost every aspect of a person’s online profile can be used in a court of law.
“Social media is often real-time evidence of what a person is thinking, feeling, where they are and what they’re doing.” said Eric Purchase.
Purchase says often times what people post online may not seem significant at the time. Later, these posts can provide attorneys with evidence.
“It can reveal motives and circumstances that otherwise would have been unknown. So, there really isn’t a case where social media and it’s evidence does not apply.” Purchase said.
Purchase says there are foundational pieces of evidence that need to be met in order for posts to be admitted and considered authentic in court.
“With videos, pictures, or audio, we often look to other witnesses who were there and who saw the events that were recorded or heard the events that were recorded and get them to verify that the recording is an accurate one.” Purchase said.
Paula DiGiacomo, First Assistant District Attorney of Crawford County, says using social media as evidence is common.
“If evidence of a crime exists on social media or any other technical means otherwise relevant to a case, it can be used as evidence.” DiGiacomo said in a statement to JET 24 Action News.
DiGiacomo gives the example of threats posted on social media. She says police can get a search warrant to obtain social media content, even if it’s not public.