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Social Media in the Courtroom

A New Era for Criminal Justice?

by Thaddeus A. Hoffmeister


Can a Facebook page prove a defendant innocent, or a YouTube clip implicate a suspect?

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August 2014


Pages 206
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Current Events and Issues/Law and Crime

Social media hasn't just changed society—it's changing the way in which criminal law is prosecuted, defended, and adjudicated. This fascinating book explains how.

While social media has become embedded in our society as a way to stay connected with friends, it serves another important purpose: to support the prosecution and defense of criminal cases. Social media is now used as proof of a crime; further, social media has become a vehicle for criminal activity. How should the law respond to the issue of online predators, stalkers, and identity thieves? This book comprehensively examines the complex impacts of social media on the major players in the criminal justice system: private citizens, attorneys, law enforcement officials, and judges. It outlines the many ways social media affects the judicial process, citing numerous example cases that demonstrate the legal challenges; and examines the issue from all sides, including law enforcement's role, citizens' privacy issues, and the principles of the Fourth Amendment. The author also shines a critical spotlight on how social media has enabled new types of investigations previously unimagined—some of which present ethical problems.


  • Examines the criminal justice system from multiple perspectives in order to give fair attention to the successful uses of social media as well as the abuses
  • Comprehensively covers current issues that have broad, long-term repercussions for the criminal justice system
  • Provides a convenient overview of all the information related to social media and criminal law in one place
  • Cites relevant cases and statutes
Author Info

Thaddeus Hoffmeister is law professor at the University of Dayton School of Law. He primarily teaches in the area of criminal law. His published works include the articles "Google, Gadgets, and Guilt: The Digital Age's Effect on Juries" in University of Colorado Law Review and "Investigating Jurors in the Digital Age: One Click at a Time" in Kansas Law Review. Hoffmeister also edits a blog on social media law.

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