For the longest time, companies and individuals have used social media for business and entertainment purposes. However, with time, this has also become a useful data source for legal professionals.
A report by the American Bar Association revealed that 24% of lawyers use social media to gather evidence during investigations. The same report revealed that 45% of lawyers use it for legal research and stay informed.
Chances are that the number of lawyers relying on social media lookup to gather evidence will increase following several court rulings that data obtained is admissible evidence. In addition, a good number of judges have granted attorneys who prove they have reasonable cause access to private accounts.
Here are a few instances when legal professionals can use social media to their advantage.
If there is a need to corroborate an alibi, social media posts can come in very handy. In a recent case, 19-year-old Rodney Bradford, who was a suspect in a Brooklyn mugging, was acquitted after his father presented a Facebook status update that proved he was in his Harlem apartment barely two minutes before the mugging took place.
The Facebook post proved that Rodney Bradford was not at the crime scene since it was 12 miles away from his apartment.
Social media data can be used to discredit a parent who refuses to pay child support. A parent that doesn’t want to pay child support may try to convince the court that their income is lower than it really is by failing to disclose their valuable assets or other sources of income.
Suppose social media posts suggest that the parent lives a better lifestyle that doesn’t correspond with the information they gave the court; an attorney can use the information to dig deeper and uncover the undisclosed sources of income. This information can also be brought up during hearings to influence the child support calculations by the judge.
A lookup can give attorneys useful information regarding personal injury claims. Since most people tend to share posts, pictures, and videos of their personal lives, attorneys can use the information to undermine the damages one claims or even disprove the cause of injury. Claimants’ posts may prove that their injuries are not as serious as they claim.
Note that courts can order a claimant to show their pages. For instance, when the claimant deleted their account, the court can subpoena the provider to release the necessary information.
The use of social media to gather evidence for court cases is still a new concept. However, most people in the legal profession have started acknowledging the benefits of social media.
Millions of people use these sites, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, daily. Therefore, it is only natural that they may post information that would be useful in court cases. This information may come in handy in investigations and during cross-examination in court proceedings. Additionally, lawyers can use this data to scrutinize potential jurors.
Lawyers familiar with pages can use the information to their client’s advantage. They can also check the real-time activity of a witness, client, or expert.
Our team can assist legal professionals in gathering exculpatory evidence that they need from social media faster. Contact us today and start your free trial. We will make finding the information you need so much quicker and easier.