On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
Recently, this blog highlighted a story where a Florida man was facing criminal charges after sharing pictures on Twitter. According to police, the man had shared child pornography by sharing images of underage girls on his account. The man says he did not know the girls were minors. Now, another Miami resident is in trouble over his use of the social media platform Twitter.
In this case, a 15-year-old boy in Miramar made sexual jokes on his Twitter account. In the statements the teenager claimed that he was going to rape a child. In addition to making these statements, the teenager tagged the Miami police department.
The Miami police responded and arrested the teenager. He has been charged with a misdemeanor — making a false police report. The police claim that any allegations of child abuse are taking serious and police will fully investigate any situation where they have been alerted to possible abuse — even those statements made over social media. The teenager, on the other hand, claims that the statements were just jokes.
Misdemeanor charges — such as the charge faced by this teenager — should be taken seriously by Miami residents. They can lead to criminal penalties just like other types of criminal charges. While people may not think that their social media can lead to criminal charges, all evidence against a person found by police will be used. Even if people weren’t serious in making statements, police will be serious in investigating them.
Therefore, even with investigations of misdemeanors, people need to protect their constitutional rights. People need to ensure, through a proper criminal defense, that police do not overstep their boundaries while investigating a particular incident.
Miami Herald, “Twitter rape joke to Miami police leads to Miramar teen’s arrest,” David Ovalle, May 16, 2014