8/03/2010

Dumb Criminals Love To Document Their Crimes In Cell Phone Text Messages And On MySpace: Or, How To Magically Transform Your Misdemeanor Into A Felony

Sex with minors is not okay, and so please don’t misunderstand me and think for a second that I’m suggesting otherwise. In fact, I have two daughters of my own and I don’t think it is appropriate for older people to have sex in any way outside of our age of consent laws. However, as a defense attorney I have seen far too many cases where a stupid criminal like yourself comments or brags about their sexual escapades with underage girls on social networking sites like Myspace or Facebook. Someone makes a phone call and before you know it a smart police officer figures out what town you live in and gets a hold of your MySpace or reads your Twitter account (a subpoena takes two minutes to draw up) and there it is in great detail and in your own words...your complete confession to the crime, which now becomes labeled Exhibit A.

In a similar vein to written online confessions, I’m amazed how many people in this country don’t realize that when the police find incriminating evidence you place in your garbage, or they find evidence you “dropped” while being chased in hot pursuit, “ghh ghh,” you can’t claim your Constitutional Rights were violated when that evidence is used to convict you.

I’m again reminded of a story when I was a young lad. Sometime in the late 70's and early 80's I was smoking a little bit of marijuana in Boulder, Colorado and I had some drugs that I put in an empty cigarette wrapper which I tossed away before beginning to smoke. Luckily for me no one saw me discard the Marlboro package, but what happened was, while I was smoking the weed, a flashlight illuminated my face and I realized it was the Boulder police. I immediately began to run, and while running through the bushes I turned around to see a uniformed officer, gun drawn and ordering me to stop. I immediately stopped and was searched. Fortunately for me they had only found me at the scene and I wasn’t arrested, and the drugs I had discarded were not found. Had they been found the officer could have, and likely would have, used those drugs against me as evidence, and I would have no argument that they were illegally seized. I know from my own experience that once you discard evidence while running, or once you throw evidence in the trash, you no longer have what the constitution calls in essence “an expectation that your property is going to be private.”

But to return to our current digital world and the way stupid criminals play loose and carefree with their incriminating evidence, another situation I see happening all the time involves these numb-skulls who like to sell a little pot in order to subsidize their own habit. Now, I’m not against marijuana. In fact, I think it is probably good for people who are sick, and I’m a proponent of medical marijuana. However, I am vehemently opposed to the legalization of marijuana because that would drastically just cut into my business as a defense attorney. I’m really in favor of a police state, because without a police state I would essentially be out of work. Having said that, it amazed me that people who sell pot continually put their offers to buy and sell marijuana in writing via text messages. A typical scenario arises where, again, the police come and pull you over in a car. They find your little bag of marijuana. Then they get your cell phone and start going through your messages and soon realize “hey, you got all these text messages where you’ve offered to buy or sell marijuana with some source or customer.” The officer not only takes your marijuana, but your small misdemeanor rapidly and magically transforms itself into a hardcore felony of possession to sell – simply because you’ve let the police know you’re a criminal drug dealer by putting your transactions in writing.

It is never a good idea to put your incriminating evidence in either a text message or the Internet. If you’re dumb enough to commit crimes, and if you’re dumb enough to put your crimes in writing, then don’t come crying to me if the police find your Facebook account or find your text messages containing damning evidence that they intent to convict you with. By then you might as well stay with your public defender.

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