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Old August 13, 2017, 01:56 PM   #2
Frank Ettin
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 9,415
Originally Posted by OldMarksman
Everyone who posts here or anywhere else on the Internet should understand that such posts are permanent, and they may be subject to discovery in legal proceedings at any time in the future. Should any member ever find himself or herself involved in such proceedings, posts containing comments that could be interpreted unfavorably could prove damaging....
And while speech may be free, it still has social and legal consequences. It can be evidence of motivation, predisposition, state of mind, intent, character, etc.

As outlined here by Massad Ayoob:
...I know for a fact that we DO have the technology to pull things out of your hard drive that you thought were deleted. We DO have the right to ask you, under penalty of perjury, whether you post on any Internet forum, and under what name, and we DO have the power to subpoena any posts via your IP from the Internet hosts, who under law have no choice but to "give you up." Don't let the seeming anonymity of the Internet delude you: when things get serious, you won't be anonymous anymore....
He was trying to make the point, in general terms, that any notion you might have that you can't get caught for what you write over the Internet is hooey. Some folks would be very surprised by the amount of useful information the police and prosecutor can get from your computer and your Internet presence. Note that he mentions a subpoena. That is another form of compulsory process used to gather evidence. Or sometimes the police will need a search warrant, which they'll be likely to get; and sometimes they won't. But however they have to get it, if it's there they can and will get it.

The "take-home message" is that plaintiff lawyers, law enforcement and prosecutors know all about social media and have been learning to use it effectively in civil litigation, criminal investigations and prosecutions. See this article headlined "Bay Area prosecutors increasingly using social media posts in criminal cases" from the 16 August 2013 edition of the Contra Costa Times:
PLEASANTON -- A teenage driver originally accused of vehicular manslaughter now faces a murder charge in the death of a bicyclist, partly because prosecutors say he bragged on Twitter about driving dangerously.

His case is part of a growing trend of social media posts being used as evidence against suspects, authorities said Friday.


As suspects feel compelled to post their misdeeds online for audiences to see, investigators have taken advantage, using the online quasi-confessions to bolster their cases, Bay Area prosecutors said.

In San Francisco, a cyclist in March fatally struck a 71-year-old pedestrian in a crosswalk after speeding through three red lights in the Castro District. Chris Bucchere, who eventually pleaded guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter, received a stiffer charge after he posted his explanation of the crash on a cycling group's website....
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
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