4 Stupid Ways Facebook Is Messing With the Legal System

Our legal system may not be perfect, but anyone can tell that an extreme amount of effort has gone into trying to cover every possible scenario we may throw at it -- there's a 10-tome treatise somewhere about how the court should react should a defendant pull down his pants and deliver testimony with his butthole. However, here's one thing our best legal minds never saw coming: dumb people posting dumb stuff on Facebook.

Yep, somewhere between all the pointless tweaks and upgrades, Mark Zuckerberg apparently added "throwing a wrench into real-life court cases" as a new Facebook feature. Here are some people who are already making use of it.

#4. Plaintiff Turns Down Judge's Friend Request, Loses Case

In Florida (of course), Judge Linda Schoonover was presiding over a divorce case when, somewhere between all the talk of marital problems and broken dreams, she decided that the wife sounded really fun. Presumably envisioning wild nights on the town and Real Housewives marathons in sweatpants, Schoonover sent the woman a friend request on Facebook. Schoonover's potential BFF, however, didn't accept the request ... and subsequently ended up saddled with the majority of the marital debt and absurd alimony payments to her ex-husband.

flcourts18.org
"How the hell else was I going to unlock all those Candy Crush levels?"

When the woman accused Schoonover of retaliating against her virtual cold shoulder, an appeals court kicked the judge off the case, ruling that she shouldn't have placed the plaintiff in that awkward situation in the first place. They then appointed a new judge, hopefully one who is still getting the hang of this Myspace thing.

#3. Juror Posts to Facebook During Case, Causes Mistrial

Brittany Lewis of Little Rock, Arkansas, was selected as a juror in a rape/kidnapping case and naturally gave such a serious matter her full and undivided attention. Or at least she did when she wasn't busy posting Facebook updates from the court about how bored she was.

katv.com
"I wouldn't have even been on Facebook if these dicks hadn't blocked Spotify."

Jurors are specifically warned to stay away from Facebook before the trial, because for some reason the legal system actually wants you to pay attention when deciding the fate of another human being. Despite offering such brilliant legal insights as "I'm sleepy and tired and my red wine is calling my name" and "Ain't nobody got time fa dat!" ("dat" meaning "due process"), Lewis' exploits overturned the original conviction and associated life sentence, giving the Defendant Formerly Known as Convicted Rapist another shot at freedom. Nice one, Zuckerberg.

#2. Man Stops Trial by Posting a Courtroom Photo on Facebook

Last month, Keiran Graham of Gloucester stopped by the local courthouse to watch a stabbing trial (you have to do something between True Detective episodes) and instead ended up getting sentenced to four months of jail time himself. How come? Well, before the trial could get underway, the "exceptionally stupid" man (in his own lawyer's words) decided to snap some phone pictures of the defendant and post them to Facebook, leaving derogatory terms in the comments.

gloucestershireecho.co.uk
"I just stole the best insults from the times I posted selfies."

Even though the Facebooker tried to balance it out by also insulting the stabbing victim, the trial had to be suspended and moved to a later date. Graham cried during his own trial and claimed that, despite notices posted all over the courthouse, he had no idea it was illegal to take pictures in courtrooms. Maybe he thought all those colored-pencil sketches on the news were just for fun.

#1. Daughter's Brag Costs Her Dad an $80,000 Settlement

When Patrick Snay scored a whopping $80,000 settlement in a discrimination lawsuit with his former employer, Gulliver Prep School, there was only one thing he had to do to keep the money: not tell people about it. Simple, right? We've all seen FOX shows where attractive lawyers have sex with each other -- everyone knows what a confidentiality agreement is. All Snay had to do to become considerably richer was shut his mouth.

And he did. Except to his daughter. And guess what his daughter shared with her 1,200 Facebook friends.

newsy.com
Gulliver Prep School Legal Dept. Likes This

Despite Snay arguing that his daughter was a teenager and citing numerous precedents that teenagers are idiots, a judge ruled that Gulliver didn't have to cough up the dough. It's small consolation, but at least Snay's daughter can take solace in the knowledge that she forced an esteemed judge to utter the words "suck it."


Chris writes for his website, tweets, and hosts a podcast.

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