September 16, 2007

MySpace, MyLawyerSpace, MyProsecutorSpace

From the Arizona Daily Star:

Online clues now helping to get convictions - Prosecutors use social sites like MySpace to aid cases

What you do online can haunt you later — especially if later involves standing before a judge in a criminal case. Prosecutors are starting to use photos and statements posted to defendants' personal Internet pages as evidence against them. And judges are using the information to justify tough sentences...

Logging onto, and is now considered de rigueur for police agencies and investigators who work for defense attorneys and prosecutors, said John Wesley Hall, president-elect of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. MySpace and Facebook are social networking Web sites that let people post personal information about themselves along with photos, videos and music. "You find out all kinds of things about people that you never would have known about without the Internet," Hall said.

More and more attorneys are using the Web sites to investigate the credibility of witnesses, victims and defendants. "I don't think attorneys on either side can afford to overlook the Internet," said John O'Brien, an assistant Pima County public defender. "It's a whole new realm that attorneys didn't have to worry about 20 years ago..."