Honors Theses

Date of Award

5-6-2019

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Legal Studies

First Advisor

Francis Boateng

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

Advocacy is about the client, who is entitled to a thorough investigation of the facts. The formal fact gathering stage of litigation is discovery, which involves interrogatories, depositions, requests to produce, medical examinations, and requests for admission (Maerowitz & Mauet, 2013). Interrogatories and depositions give litigants a chance to posit questions regarding social media evidence. A social media post could be used to discredit and devalue prior witnesses’ testimony. It could be particularly useful for attorneys and paralegals who find themselves lacking corroborating evidence to bolster their claims using online resources. Consider how websites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow users to cultivate a reflection of their character online. The result is a database of digital-dossiers. Case law has shown that requests which are excessive in scope and which are not justified. The fact is that the use of social media evidence has been a recent development, but it is here to stay. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers - AAML(2010) found that 81% of top divorce attorneys reported a rise in the frequency of social media evidence in the courtroom. 66% reported that Facebook was the primary website being used. Social media evidence has emerged with courtroom application, and thus is a valuable source of evidence. This law review will assert that social media has to be taken seriously as a source of evidence. It is widely used by two-thirds of Americans. It is an advancement in American life on par with the invention of the radio. We are communicating different. Thankfully, the law is compatible with this new form of interactive technology. This paper will act as a snapshot of social media evidence in the law as of 2019. By doing so, this paper will review Federal Rules of Evidence, Statutory law, and case law will be reviewed to lay the foundation of its applicability. In addition, the paper will also review the nature of social media as a communicative medium in order to show that it is a useful for attorneys. This involves reviewing statistics and scholarly articles which confirm the pervasive use and forms of content.

Included in

Law Commons

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