Social Media Investigations

May 29, 2009

The latest installment and example of why lawyers should be looking up publicly available information about opposing parties, witnesses, clients, and other relevant individuals comes to us from Webware/cnet: “Man convicted after boasting of crime on MySpace” (by Dong Ngo):

Joseph Wade Northington, a 27-year-old man from Roanoke, Va., pleaded guilty Thursday in a Columbia, S.C., federal court to using a firearm during a violent crime.

. . .

Investigators learned that Northington, who had a gunshot scar on his face, used MySpace, and accessed his page. There they found that he had posted a message mentioning the robbery: “One in the head still ain’t dead!!!!!! On tha run for robbin a bank Love all of yall.”

Click here for the full article.  Lawyers and investigators routinely glean helpful (or harmful) publicly available information from Facebook, MySpace, blogs, and other social media sites.  Checking publicly available information on social media sites should be added to every lawyer’s list of tasks to perform upon opening a new matter.