The manner in which social media is influencing the lives of the modern day youth is not only specific but significant. These platforms are being extensively used for constructive purposes such as mobilizing social causes, showcasing opportunities and headhunting. Naturally, youngsters are making more than a casual effort to manage their online identities really well. A lot indeed depends on how the virtual world perceives them to be! And with life becoming busier and busier, online social identities would end up mattering a lot, sooner or later. Gone are the days of careless interactions and useless banter! And its time to be even more careful! Believe it or not, social media is making its presence felt in a big way, in courtroom trials as well!
The Steubenville Rape Trial
The Steubenville Rape Case, which has been extensively discussed and written about on social media is a case in point here. The social media craze surrounding the case was phenomenal and even before the trial began, the Ohio teens in question were convicted online. Photos and videos of the drunken party were extensively showcased on social media platforms for generating public outrage and for incriminating them. The impact was such that, even before the trial named them guilty, these lads were full blown criminals!
The Exposure was Phenomenal
Members were present at the fateful party that night continued to share videos and comments extensively on Facebook and Twitter that night. And the extent of exposure was wide enough for the postings to spill out of the high school students group. Very soon, they were being accessed by others and the key video grabs were publicized extensively on the internet. In fact, during the course of the trial, the girl’s mother addressed the offenders by stating that they were their own accuser by means of publishing their criminal conduct on social media. The convicts Trent Mays and Ma’Lik Richmond were found guilty and sentenced to juvenile confinement. Richmond was released in August this year whereas Trent continues to serve his 2 year sentence!
Social Media Posts Substituted for Evidence Big Time!
Prosecutors produced text messages sent by May on Facebook where he admitted to his act. There were other messages too where he asked for cover. And, there was another text message penned by the victim where she emphatically states that she was not indulging in improper behavior, in fact, she clearly states that the boys were taking advantage of her! All these messages were produced point blank in court, for strengthening the case.
Social Media Substituting for Evidence
Text messages and social media posts are being increasingly used as evidence in courts. The growth in the use of smart phones has also helped in defense lawyers and prosecutors make their cases. Experts believe that it indeed is a trend to stay and is going to change the way in which evidences would now be gathered in cases. So, it was not merely the public consensus that helped! The texts and comments were used as hardcore evidence and was duly honored by the judge, while planning the verdict!
If experts are to be believed, this trends is here to stay and the extensive usage of smartphones is only making matters simpler for social media users!