You get accused of a crime. You know that you did nothing wrong and you were not even in the area when the crime happened, but a witness identifies you as the perpetrator. In a lineup, other witnesses also claim you are the one who did it.
All you can think is that someone who looked very much like you must have carried out the crime, and you are unfortunately being falsely accused. But how do you prove that you were not there?
In today’s world of social media and online interactions, some people have used Facebook to prove their side of the story is the truth. Eyewitnesses are often wrong, and computer records may tell the real story.
For instance, one man was accused of a mugging, even though his father said he was at his apartment. Witnesses claimed otherwise.
What broke the case open was the fact that the mugging happened at 11:50 in the morning. At 11:49 that same morning, the young man had updated his Facebook status. The status itself — about talking to a girl and going to IHOP — was unimportant. What mattered was that the IP address he posted from was in fact at his father’s apartment. There was no way he could have posted it and then gone to the scene of the crime just 60 seconds later. That update kept him from going to jail.
Smartphones and social media often track people’s movements and provide updates about their lives. It is important to consider this type of electronic paper trail if you get accused of a crime. It may be a key part of your defense strategy.