Facebook As Alibi

The lead story in the New York Section of today’s New York Times (11/12/09) was about how Facebook vindicated a 19 year old boy from a wrongful arrest. Rodney Bradford lives in Brooklyn, but was visiting his father in Harlem on October 17, 2009. On October 18, the New York City Police arrested Bradford for a robbery that took place near his home in Brooklyn. Bradford’s defense attorney, Robert Reuland, told the Brooklyn assistant district attorney about his client’s alibi and Facebook’s proof thereof, whereupon the A.D.A subpoenaed Facebook’s records to verify the alibi. The A.D.A confirmed that the Facebook entry was typed on a computer in that apartment in Harlem, and he subsequently dismissed the charges against Rodney Bradford.

The defense attorney basically said this case was a slam-dunk for dismissal, stating that it was unlikely that someone could have purloined Mr. Bradford’s Facebook user name and password to post on Facebook at just the right time. However, Professor Joseph Pollini, of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said that prosecutors should not have dropped the charges so quickly. His reasoning? “Some of the brightest people on the Internet are teenagers. They know the Internet better than a lot of people. Why? Because they use it all the time.” What brilliant reasoning from the Deputy Chair of the Department of Law, Police Science, and Criminal Justice Administration. Not. Pollini seems to be saying that because teens freely share information over the Internet teens should be less credible than your average criminal. Teens use computers; therefore, teens are devious. Therefore, teens are inherently untrustworthy. It’s just plain crap.

Wait a minute — how does this guy Pollini know my son, Wizard???

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