Category Archives: Social Media And The Law

Juror Tries Adding Defendant On Facebook

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The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the 22-year-old Hudson was one of the jurors picked last month to hear a case involving a 2008 auto wreck.  After court recessed for the day on July 18, Hudson admits he tried to “friend” the defendant, Courtney Downing.

“He’s a very, very nice kid,” said Steve Gordon, the attorney assigned to represent him. “I think he was just very naive about the rules of being on a jury.” Gordon said Hudson, who has a job as a pizza delivery man, was regularly updating his Facebook status — “stuff like, ‘Hey, I’m on jury duty. Kinda sucks. Sorta boring.’ And that was it.”

If you’ve ever been on jury duty you’ve doubtless heard instructions not to discuss a case with anyone — not fellow jurors, not family or friends, certainly not strangers who may visit your Facebook page.  In the halls of a courthouse, lawyers and staff treat jurors as if they were radioactive.  Texas just recently added language to judges’ standard instructions to remind jurors that social media are just as off-limits as personal contact with the participants in a case.

Apparently they didn’t sink in with Hudson, who sent defendant Downing that standard message: “Jonathan Hudson wants to be friends with you on Facebook.”  She became concerned and told her lawyer, who told Judge Wade Birdwell. The next morning Hudson was off the case, and last week, having pleaded guilty to four counts of contempt of court, he was sentenced to two days of community service.

“I’ve never seen this before,” prosecutor Chris Ponder said in the Star-Telegram. “But I’m afraid this is a new reality.”

Gordon, Hudson’s attorney, agreed.  “It’s just a different way of viewing yourself and what should be public about you,” he said in a phone interview. “Folks his age don’t think about it unless something bad happens.”

Hudson could have been sentenced to six months in prison for contempt. He will do 16 hours of community service, as determined by the court bailiff, next week.

“The original case resolved itself fairly quickly,” said attorney Gordon. “Unfortunately, it went on for Mr. Hudson.”

 

If you are in need of legal representation contact Daniel Ambrose at 248-624-5500

Also visit our website www.ambroselawgroup.com

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Facebook Stalker Sent To Prison

from detnews.com

Sacramento, Calif. — A California man who trolled women’s Facebook pages searching for clues that allowed him to take over their email accounts was sentenced Friday to more than four years in state prison after a judge rejected a plea for a lighter sentence and likened the man to a Peeping Tom.

Once he took over women’s email accounts, George Bronk searched their folders for nude or semi-nude photographs or videos sent to their husbands or boyfriends and distributed the images to their contact list, prosecutors said.

The emails went to families, friends and coworkers. Women in 17 states, the District of Columbia and England were victimized.

“This case serves as a stark example of what occurs in so-called cyberspace. It has very real consequences,” Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Brown said. “The intrusion of one’s profile is no different than intruding one’s home.”

Bronk, 24, pleaded guilty in January to charges that included computer intrusion, false impersonation and possession of child pornography.

Brown sentenced him to four years in state prison for the charges related to the Facebook and email offenses, and added eight more months for charges related to child pornography.

Bronk’s attorney, Monica Lynch, said her client took responsibility for his actions and showed remorse.

Bronk was living in the Sacramento suburb of Citrus Heights with his parents in December 2009 when he began scanning Facebook with the intent of taking over email accounts. The practice continued until last September.

Victims turned up in Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

Bronk was arrested last October.
For more info on legal cases involving social media read our articles here 

If you have been charged with an internet crime in michigan contact Daniel Ambrose at (248) 624-5500

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Livonia Woman Sues Over Facebook Romance

From the oaklandpress.com

LIVONIA (AP) — A suburban Detroit woman is suing a Washington state man for more than $8,000 in damages after a failed Facebook romance.

Fifty-year-old Cheryl Gray of Livonia filed the civil lawsuit in May against 35-year-old Wylie Iwan of Kennewick, Wash., claiming misrepresentation, defamation of character and other charges. She seeks repayment for gifts she bought during their six-month relationship, including a digital camera and Seattle Mariners’ home opener tickets.

The single mother says they met playing Mafia Wars.

Gray tells WXYZ-TV she bought a plane ticket to visit him but a week before the planned trip he sent a message saying he met someone else.

Iwan’s attorney Julian Poota tells The Associated Press he’s filed a motion to dismiss the case. An Aug. 1 hearing is scheduled in Livonia’s district court.


Personally, I feel you are taking a risk when meeting someone over any social media site. I’ll be interested to see how this plays out in court!

For more info on social media and the law click here 

Ambrose Law Group

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Technology Trampling Your 4th Amendment Rights?

Rights advocates fear police violating privacy with advancing technologies

Investigators used Facebook photos to nab a Detroit man accused in a spree of bank robberies.

A Southfield doctor suspected of a prescription drug scam was caught after officers put a GPS on her minivan and tracked her activities.

When three brothers from Morenci went missing, investigators collected information from a cell phone belonging to their father — who has been charged in their disappearance — and determined some of his travel habits, leading to search efforts in Williams County, Ohio.

Those are just a few of the recent examples of how law enforcement is using technology to monitor the activities of suspects and solve cases. Investigators are mining social networking sites and e-mails, placing tracking devices on vehicles and purchasing sophisticated technology of their own — like devices that can extract information from cell phones. And with many cell phones now more characteristic of computers than basic talk-and-text phones, there’s plenty of information to be found.

Privacy-rights advocates, though, worry about constitutional violations and say laws aren’t keeping pace with changing technology.

Read the full article here

You let facebook and twitter know where and what you’re doing but does it bother you that the police can track you using these tools? Five years ago the thought seemed outlandish but now it’s becoming common place.

Read more articles about the internet and the law here 

Questions about a legal issue call Ambrose Law Group at (248) 624-5500

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Felony Email Case On Hold In Michigan

From Freep.com

The state Court of Appeals has put on hold a felony computer hacking charge against a Rochester Hills man who read his wife’s e-mail.

But the court will let a charge of illegally accessing CLEMIS, a law enforcement computer system, stand against Leon Walker, 33.

“This court concluded that serious questions exist as to whether this felony criminal statute was intended to be applied to domestic relations cases of the sort presented here,” the court panel said Monday in a unanimous opinion by E. Thomas Fitzgerald, Kathleen Jansen and Henry William Saad.

The court ordered the trial judge, Martha Anderson, to file an order explaining why she believed the statute should be used, and gave her within 35 days to file it.

Walker’s attorney, Leon Weiss, said the appellate decision sends a message to the prosecutors and the courts: “It says the circuit court was dead wrong in not throwing this out.”

He said he would take the CLEMIS matter back to the Court of Appeals on Wednesday if prosecutors try to proceed to trial.

“That case is even more frivolous than the first case,” he said.

Paul Walton, chief Oakland County assistant prosecutor, said the trial on the CLEMIS matter would proceed Thursday, while they await the appellate decision on the hacking case.

“He accessed CLEMIS, a criminal investigative database. It’s against the law,” Walton said.

In the CLEMIS matter, Walker said he asked county officials how the system worked, and they showed him, because he was preparing a Freedom of Information Act letter to find out whether anyone else in the county had been charged with reading a spouse’s e-mail. None have.

Walker, a computer technician for Oakland County, also was to go to trial Thursday on the hacking charge.

He suspected his wife, Clara, was having an affair, and in the summer of 2009, he read her Gmail account on the family computer, using a password he said she kept in a notebook.

Walker then learned that his wife was having an affair with her second husband, a man who had been arrested for beating her in front of a child she had with her first husband. Walker shared the e-mail with the first husband, who included it in his child custody fight.

The couple, who share a child, have since divorced. Walker has insisted he shared the e-mail with the first husband because he was worried the child would be subject to more domestic violence.

The story has made international headlines.

Do you think accessing your spouse’s email account should be a felony?

If you have a question concerning a divorce case or a criminal charge contact Ambrose Law Group at (248) 624-5500

We have experienced Michigan family law and criminal law attorneys who can answer your questions and help you with your case

www.ambrosefamilylawattorney.com

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Filed under Divorce, Holly Valente, Social Media And The Law, Uncategorized

Mom Uses Facebook To Raise Money For Non-Existent Baby

This is another one of the crazy stories where someone used facebook to swindle the community.  Social Networking sites can be used for so many amazing ways, its a shame when someone does something like this.

DETROIT (WXYZ) – Facebook is a great way to connect with your friends online. But one local woman is accused of using the website to promote a fundraiser for her sick baby – a baby many now believe never existed.

Her name is Monique Bartlett. But on Facebook she went by “Proudtobeamom.” Friends say when they learned about Bartlett’s sick baby, they were eager to help.

She claimed the infant had severe lung problems, needing surgeries and around-the-clock care. But her friends say when they realized none of them had ever seen the child – and so many of her claims didn’t add up – they questioned Bartlett. That’s when they say she lashed out at them – and used a lot of public resources trying to cover her tracks.

Action News Investigator Heather Catallo tracked down Bartlett and uncovered a history of bizarre behavior. The deeper Catallo dug, the stranger Bartlett’s story became.

Tuesday night on Action News at 11, Catallo will tell you what Bartlett said when confronted about the mysterious baby and how the cops and courts got entangled in this strange tale.

Read the full story here

Thoughts?

Holly@ambroselawgroup.com

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Filed under Holly Valente, Internet Laws, Social Media And The Law

Warren Juror Gets Fine and Homework For Her Facebook Post

Earlier this week we posted about the juror who was dismissed from duty after a comment she left on her facebook page. Today the Judge dealt her the consequences.

Hadley Jons, the Warren woman who was removed from a jury for declaring the defendant guilty on Facebook before the trial was over, has been ordered to pay $250 and write an essay about the constitutional right to a fair trial.

Read the full DetNews article here

What do you think about her sentence?

Holly@ambroselawgroup.com

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Filed under Holly Valente, Jury Duty, Social Media And The Law

Macomb County Juror In Trouble For Facebook Post

We’ve posted a few blogs about ways facebook, your phone , and emails , might not be as private as you think.  Today we get one more example to prove our case.  A Macomb County Juror was removed from jury duty  after an attorney uncovered one of her facebook posts. Read the full story here

The defense attorney’s son found the post while checking juror’s names on the internet.

The juror had posted a status stating the defendant was guilty, BEFORE the trial had ended.  The juror may now face contempt of court charges and possible jail time.

Thoughts?

Holly@ambroselawgroup.com

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Filed under Contempt of Court, Holly Valente, Jury Duty, Privacy Laws, Social Media And The Law

Got A New IPhone? The Cops Have an App for that

Everybody seems to dig the new iPhone… even law enforcement… but not for their personal use.  Apparently the new phones capture and retain so much data, and retain it for up to a full year, that law enforcement has begun learning how to capture the personal user data off of an iPhone for use in criminal prosecutions. Sounds like a huge invasion of privacy doesn’t it?  For many people their phone or PDA is their life: a daily planner, scheduler, direction giver, personal database and source of entertainment.  All of your personal data in one place, and apparently now easily accesible to police investigators.

A July 7, 2010 Detroit Free Press article highlighted these less than obvious data caches recorded by the iPhone:

• Every time an iPhone user closes out of the built-in mapping application, the phone snaps a screenshot and stores it. Savvy law-enforcement agents armed with search warrants could use those snapshots to see if a suspect is lying about whereabouts during a crime.

• iPhone photos are embedded with GEO tags and identifying information, meaning that photos posted online might not only include GPS coordinates of where the picture was taken, but also the serial number of the phone that took it.

• Even more information is stored by the applications themselves, including the user’s browser history. That data is meant in part to direct custom-tailored advertisements to the user, but experts said that some of it could prove useful to police.

• The keyboard cache function logs everything that you type in order to learn autocorrect so that it can correct a user’s typing mistakes.

The courts have historically treated cell phones like any other easily accesible container that police can search at the time of a traffic stop in much the same way they can check things left out in the backseat or the glovebox, In 2009, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that searches of cell phone data without a warrant was going to far, and a breach of an expectation of privacy. That case is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.  So, for now at least, keep in mind that all of your data may be used by police in any investigation, and with an iPhone, the sources and types of data available can be far more comprehensive and extensive than what you might think.

Read the full article here

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Filed under Police Brutality, Social Media And The Law

Facebook Friend? Or F.B.I Foe?

Ambrose Law Group is a firm believer in NEVER talking to the police. We repeat NEVER TALK TO THE POLICE!  Other than your name and identifying information you have the right to remain silent.  Even if you know your innocent it’s best to inform the officer you are choosing to remain silent and request to see your lawyer.  There are a few reasons we urge you to do this.  First, you cannot talk yourself out of being arrested. Nothing you say will  make a difference or help you in anyway, even if you are innocent.  The police have the right to use anything you say AGAINST you in a court of law.  But nothing you say can be used to HELP you.  That would be considered hearsay and inadmissible.  Even if you are innocent it’s easy to make a mistake in your story, forget facts or accidentally lie.  There are many innocent people who are sitting in jail because they chose to speak with the police.  If you are guilty there’s no need to rush into confessing. There will be plenty of time for that later. If you confess you might ruin your chances of working out a good plea deal, having your case dismissed or even having a good defense at trial.

With all of that being said there was a very interesting article in the Free Press yesterday and there’s a chance you might be talking to the police without even realizing it! U.S. Law Enforcement has discovered the world of Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Linked In and more, and they’re using these social networking sites to incriminate you. The FBI has been using fake profiles to go undercover and communicate with suspects as well as gather info to use in court.  They’re using the sites to check alibi’s, find incriminating photos and locate missing suspects.  Read the full story here .

I read the article and then thought about all the social-networking sites I use. Upon a bit of self-reflection I realized good grief there’s a lot of info about me out there! And I’m always accepting people left and right on my facebook and twitter!  Maybe I need to be a little more cautious with some of this internet stuff?! Your thoughts?

So anyways, make sure you know the  friend requests your accepting. Everything you type, tweet, and post could be used against you in a court of law!

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Filed under 5th Amendment Rights, Privacy Laws, Search and Seizure, Social Media And The Law