Technology and Criminal Law

By: Martha “Marcy” Akers

Everyone knows that technology is continually advancing. Many people do not realize that laws also change to keep up with technological improvements.

During the most recent legislative session, the Texas legislators wrote new laws making it a misdemeanor for minors to sext – that is to possess or electronically transmit images of another minor engaged in sexual activities. Generally, minors who sext may be found guilty of a Class C Misdemeanor. Minors who sext may be guilty of a more serious crime if they sent the image with the intent to harass, annoy, embarrass or offend another or if they have previously been found guilty of the offense of sexting.

Millions of people use social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. Everyone has probably seen postings and/or photographs on those sites that may have been inappropriate. I wager that the person making the status update or posting the photograph does not know that those postings and/or photographs may come back to haunt them. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals recently determined that evidence from a defendant’s MySpace pages, which described details of a murder with which he stood accused, was admissible evidence.

In conclusion, in addition to the sites you visit, you should always be careful about the content of your status updates, the comments you make, the photographs you upload, etc… Big Brother is always watching!