Effects of Social Media on Evidence

April 9th, 2019|

Having been in trial court rooms for almost 45 years now, I like to tell clients that a courtroom is not much different than your first grade classroom when we used to have show and tell. We remember those days, you would bring something from home and show that to your classmates while you told them something about why that something is important. A courtroom is not much different than a classroom. It is my job as a trial attorney to paint a picture for the judge or jury and we do this by show and tell.

For example, if I want to convince a judge of my clients stretched budget, I would introduce a detailed income versus expenses budget to explain this point. Merely testifying about expenses does not drive the point home. If I need to show the value of a marital residence, a comparative market analysis or appraisal introduced into evidence gives the judge a figure they can work with.

Show and tell now includes social media. In my initial appointment, I tried to emphasize to a client that anything that is put out there, on social media, by text or email, or otherwise, could end up as an exhibit in a courtroom. In recent trials, approximately 50% of the evidence introduced is postings on social media, or screenshots of texts or emails. A moment of anger in a text message can result in the judge believing that my client is dangerous. Don’t let that happen. Recognize that once the case is started, everything one says on social media or in a text/email could very well end up as evidence in a trial. Before hitting the send button, read and reread what you have stated and if you do not want it to be evidence in the hearing, delete it. Better yet, stay off social media altogether and be extremely careful with texts/emails. You will make your attorneys job much easier and have a much higher chance of success at the hearing or trial.