Obstruction charges through Facebook posts

June 23, 2011
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Facebook users let people know what they are eating for dinner, that they don’t feel well, and their plans for Saturday night – why not let the world know when you are involved in a police standoff and possible hostage situation?

A man involved in a standoff with police kept up with his Facebook page throughout the 16-hour ordeal. The Utah man updated his status, responded to comments, and even posted a photo of the alleged hostage in the room with him. He did all this while police were trying to get him out of the hotel room after attempting to serve a felony warrant for failure to appear on drug-related charges.

Some of his Facebook friends even wrote about police movements outside the hotel. Those friends may now face obstruction charges. Ogden Police Lt. Danielle Croyle said police were monitoring his online accounts and those friends could be charged.

She also said it’s becoming more common for criminals to use social media even in the midst of dangerous situations. What is going through a criminal’s mind that while he’s involved in a car chase, burglary, standoff, etc., he thinks it’s the best time to whip out his smart phone and let the world know what’s going on? Couldn’t those comments be used against him in court?

This is the first I’ve read of a person involved in a criminal activity using social media simultaneously. Have you heard of any other examples?

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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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