This is a change. I have written before about how data from social networking sites are being used to gather evidence in criminal trials. Now, the New York Times reports how a person’s Facebook status helped establish an alibi. Rodney Bradford was arrested as a suspect in a Brooklyn robbery, but he pointed to a Facebook status he had posted from his father’s apartment in Harlem. Note also that the computer’s identifying data was gathered by Facebook and later subpoenaed.
His defense lawyer, Robert Reuland, told a Brooklyn assistant district attorney, Lindsay Gerdes, about the Facebook entry, which was made at the time of the robbery. The district attorney subpoenaed Facebook to verify that the words had been typed from a computer at an apartment at 71 West 118th Street in Manhattan, the home of Mr. Bradford’s father. When that was confirmed, the charges were dropped. […]
Mr. Reuland acknowledged that, in principle, anyone who knew Mr. Bradford’s user name and password could have typed the Facebook update, but he regards it as unlikely.
“This implies a level of criminal genius that you would not expect from a young boy like this; he is not Dr. Evil,” Mr. Reuland said, adding that the Facebook entry was just “icing on the cake,” since his client had other witnesses who provided an alibi. […]
But Joseph A. Pollini, who teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said prosecutors should not have been so quick to drop the charges.
“With a user name and password, anyone can input data in a Facebook page,” Mr. Pollini said.