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Facebook Access Requested by Defense on Sexual Assault Case

28
May
2011

facebook_logoDefense lawyers are practically paid to use every trick in the book to get their clients off the hook. These days, they’re turning to Facebook in order to gather evidence for their defense. In one sexual assault case being conducted in the United States, the defense has asked the judge to give them access to the victim’s Facebook page in order to gather evidence that may exonerate their client. 

The defendant was accused of sexually assaulting a woman on a plane. The woman had fallen asleep but was awakened when she felt her seatmate touching her indecently. The woman immediately removed the man’s hand and told him to stop, but he was relentless and even asked her, “Is that okay — you don’t like that?” She, of course, answered in the negative, but the man once again reached down to touch her. That was when the woman alerted the flight attendant and reported the incident. 

The man was subsequently charged with sexual abuse, sexual assault, and abusive sexual conduct, to which he pleaded not guilty. Currently, however, the evidence is looking pretty bad for him. The flight attendant and the pilot have both testified that the woman looked visibly shaken after the incident. 

The defense team is hoping that they will find evidence to counter this on the woman’s Facebook page, and have served a subpoena on Facebook, seeking access to her wall, chat history, status updates, photos, and even her inbox. The subpoena practically includes all her Facebook activity from September 27 to October 3, 2011. 

Of course, the woman objected, saying that such an act would be a blatant invasion of her privacy. It has already been discovered that she posted something about what she had to eat that day on Facebook and the defense team is using this information against her, using it as evidence against her claim of being upset over the sexual assault. However, Asssistant US Attorney said that it’s not really uncommon for women to be reluctant about sharing about her experience immediately after it happened. 

So far, the judge has not yet decided on whether he will honor the subpoena or not. Either way, whatever the outcome of this case will be, it will surely have a huge impact on what defines invasion of privacy.

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