In a moment of anger, or just in a moment of temporary stupidity, you may have posted a photo on Instagram or written a comment on Facebook that got you in trouble with your friends, family, bosses, or in some cases, the law.
Here are some examples of people who have forgotten the golden rule about posting online: “The Internet’s not written in pencil, it’s written in ink.”1 Because of their online activity, they faced criminal charges.
1. They Will Find You
In 2012, the U.S. Secret Service arrested a Florida man named Christopher Castillo after he posted a threat on Facebook to kill President Obama. Castillo is currently serving a 15-month sentence in federal prison for making a criminal threat.2
2. Charity Turns to Custody
Jesean Morris, wanted by Nebraska authorities for violating his parole, posted a video of himself dumping a bucket of ice water on his head for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. A tipster who saw the post on Facebook recognized the house where the video was shot and informed the police. The police arrested Morris a short time later, but there is no word on whether he was able to make his donation to the charity.3
3. Remember to Log Off
Nicholas Wig of St. Paul, Minnesota decided to check his Facebook profile on the computer of James Wood, whose home he was burglarizing at the time. Wig forgot to sign off before leaving with cash, credit cards, and a watch, and he also left behind a set of wet clothes.
Wood used the burglar’s profile to set up a meeting with Wig, telling him that he would return Wig’s clothes to him. He then called police and had Wig arrested. Wig faces up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines.4
4. The Bird Gets Flipped
Michael Baker, of Jenkins, Kentucky, posted a photo of himself on Facebook raising a middle finger to the camera as he siphoned gas from a police car. The Jenkins police let him know what they thought of his gesture by arresting him not long after spotting the photo online.5
5. Guns, Cash, and Instagram
Dupree Johnson, a 19-year-old South Florida man, liked to flaunt his lifestyle. He posted photos on Instagram of himself holding stacks of cash, showing off his jewelry, and displaying his massive collection of firearms, none of which were obtained legally. Seeing the photos online, the police obtained a warrant, searched his home, and collected enough evidence to charge him with 142 felony counts of felony possession of a firearm.6
6. Keep Your Friends Close…
A day after a high school student was arrested in Santa Clarita, California for threatening online to go on a shooting rampage at his school, another teenager found himself in police custody for sending threatening text messages to a friend.
The sender used a website to send the texts anonymously. The friend posted a screen capture of the messages on Instagram, and the police were soon notified.
The teenager later claimed that the messages were a practical joke.7
7. …And Your Enemies Closer
The Brower Boys gang in Brooklyn, New York made the mistake of not knowing that the person whose friend request they accepted was a cop. Police officer Michael Rodrigues used Facebook to track the gang’s plans, and in the process, broke up a year-long string of burglaries, sending 14 members of the gang to jail.8
8. First, Let Me Take an Unintentional Selfie
Edgar Hernandez-Santos of Tampa, Florida is accused of stealing a smartphone, which had a security app called Lookout installed. Upon entering the incorrect password, the phone took two photos of Hernandez-Santos and emailed them to the phone’s owner, along with GPS coordinates of where the photos were taken. The owner forwarded the information to the police, who arrested Hernandez-Santos after he identified himself in the photos.9
9. Busted By a Wrecking Ball
Miley Cyrus recently brought a homeless man named Jesse Helt to the MTV Video Music Awards and allowed him to accept an award on her behalf in order to make a statement about fighting homelessness. Unfortunately for Helt, police in Oregon recognized him from the many Instagram and Facebook photos the singer posted of him. Helt has an outstanding warrant for his arrest on a probation violation. He turned himself in a week after the awards.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, it is critical that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience defending people accused of crimes. Our attorneys will fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.
1. [The Social Network (Columbia Pictures 2010).]↩