Criminal defense practice 101 is to inform your clients "not to speak
to the Police, and generally not to tell anyone (particularly family and
friends) about your misdeeds." Indeed, the Fifth Amendment protects
your right to be silent. The reality, however, is that some defendants
ignore the admonishment and broadcast their criminal behavior across social
media. If you represent a client, or are a parent of someone accused of
a crime, look at their electronic footprint. Have they sent a text, emailed,
Tweeted, sent a picture,or posted a Facebook message about the alleged
Times have changed. It used to be that the discovery of "pay owe sheets"
was a strong indicator of drug transactions. Now the Police expect to
find cellphone records and text communications (albeit in
code) of drug sales. Similarly, in many domestic violation cases, prosecutors
as well as family law attorneys are subpeoning computer and phone records
when it appears likely that the assaulter has referenced his/her conduct
in an electronic communication.
It should be required protocol for any defense attorney to inquire from
their client if the client has left an electronic trail of material that
possibly could be discovered by the Government. If the material exists,
the client is not compelled to save it--assuming that there is no court
order to the contrary. However, most clients and attorneys are not computer
experts, and deleted material may be retrievable--especially once sent
to others. Be prepared.
If you have been accused of a crime,
contact Law Offices of Karlstrom & Krebs today!