We’ve seen many a lawsuit involving Facebook. With everything from criminals getting arrested for updating their Facebook status during a robbery, to someone being arrested for a harmless “poke.” On a brighter note, one New York teen was able to use a Facebook status update to provide an alibi and actually keep himself out of jail.
One night, Rodney Bradford, a 19-year-old from Harlem was online updating his Facebook status. The next night he was taken into custody under suspicion of robbery. Claiming his innocence, Bradford’s defense attorney admitted Bradford’s Facebook status update as his alibi. The judge subpoenaed Facebook company records and was able to verify that the update occurred at 11:49 am from Bradford’s father’s home. The robbery, on the other hand, occured at 11:50 am. This was enough evidence to convince the court that Bradford’s alibi was indeed legitimate, and he was cleared of all charges.
However not everyone is pleased with the results of the case. Joseph Pollini, a law professor at John Jay college, stated “With a user name and password, anyone can input data in a Facebook page. Some of the brightest people on the Internet are teenagers,” he said. “They know the Internet better than a lot of people. Why? Because they use it all the time.” Reuland admits that this is possible but disagree that it is likely stating “This implies a level of criminal genius that you would not expect from a young boy like this; he is not Dr. Evil.”
One thing is for certain, that this ruling can set legal precedent for a slew of other cases to come. John Browning, a lawyer and member of the Dallas Bar Association who studies social networking and the law stated, “This is the first case that I’m aware of in which a Facebook update has been used as alibi evidence. We are going to see more of that because of how prevalent social networking has become.” Whether or not a Facebook status should be admissible in a court of law is not for me to say, but I’m eager to see what other cases can come out of this one.
(Via New York Times)