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Posts Tagged ‘miranda warnings’

What You Tweet May Be Used Against You

February 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Following her arraignment on her most recent criminal charge, Lindsey Lohan took to Twitter in an attempt to clear her name. On February 10th, Lohan tweeted the following:

“Was on the phone with my sister&this movie Greenberg is on, i heard my voice which was odd- and ryhs ifans is watching Just My Luck in the movie- made me laugh.. i just want to be on set again, and left alone to just work! fyi- i would never steal, in case people are wondering. I was not raised to lie, cheat, or steal… also, what i wear to court shouldnt be front page news. it’s just absurd. god bless xox L”

The behavior of high-profile criminal defendants like Lohan provide a good example of how the power of social media can impact a criminal case. While Lohan’s statements are not an admission of guilt, when compared with her attorney’s statement to CNN that Lohan would be seeking a plea deal is confusing at best. As a criminal defense attorney, we must make our client’s aware of the risk that statements made on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook can be used against them in court and may potentially hinder their lawyer’s ability to effectively achieve their optimal outcome.  Let’s not be naive, just because judges and prosecutor’s should not let their perception of the criminal defendant affect their judgment, doesn’t mean that is what happens in the real world. On more than one occasion in my practice, plea negotiations have been hampered after the prosecutor assigned to my client’s case visited my client’s Facebook page and read what my client had to say about the victim or witnesses involved.

Should the Miranda Warnings be amended to include: “… anything you say or tweet may be used against you in a court of law…”? Obviously not.  However, as social networking continues to grow in popularity and affects how individuals communicate with one another, a good criminal defense attorney should advise their client that what they tweet or post online may be used against them.

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New details emerge in case of Bay City substitute teacher charged with having sex with students at Central High | MLive.com

February 10, 2011 Leave a comment

New details emerge in case of Bay City substitute teacher charged with having sex with students at Central High | MLive.com.

During questioning, the suspect invoked her constitutional right to have a lawyer present during questioning. In my experience, individuals do not invoke this right as much as they should, due in part to the axiom “only the guilty have something to hide.” Unfortunately, even if someone has done nothing wrong it is almost always the right move to discuss the situation with a criminal defense lawyer. Even a brief conversation with a criminal defense lawyer is privileged and confidential – even if you choose not to hire that lawyer.

The bottom line is – even if you believe you have done nothing wrong, it is always a good decision to consult with a criminal defense lawyer before answering questions from a police officer.