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Social Media Law in a Nutshell

Social media posts can sink your chance for a fair and impartial trial, judge or jury, as well as influence investigations, according to a new book due out May 28 by University of Dayton law professor and social media law expert Thaddeus Hoffmeister.

"The impact of social media has been felt in every corner of our society, including the law," said Hoffmeister, who wrote Social Media Law in a Nutshell with University of Texas social media law professor Ryan Garcia. "From marketing to employment to criminal law to copyright and beyond, virtually every legal field has been changed by social media."

Some examples the book addresses include:

* A state judicial commission telling a judge his Facebook post "cast reasonable doubt on his capacity to act impartially in the performance of his duties."

* A lawyer receiving a 90-day suspension for unprofessional responses to Facebook messages from a client. 

* Investigators moving from pounding the pavement to examining social media to solve their latest crime mysteries.

Hoffmeister and Garcia hope exploring and explaining those cases helps eliminate surprises for lawyers and their clients, and provides law students with a blueprint for navigating this area of the law.

Social Media Law in a Nutshell is an extension of Hoffmeister's prior work examining social media and juries.

"More and more people are researching details about cases or posting comments about a trial. In one sexual assault case in England, a juror held a poll with Facebook friends about whether she should vote guilty or not guilty. A judge in Arkansas overturned a death penalty case because a juror wouldn't stop tweeting," said Hoffmeister, who also wrote Social Media in the Courtroom and edits a social media law blog. "If you're a digital native, your answer to everything is, 'I'll Google it.' I didn't realize how big an issue this had become until I started blogging about juries."

To pre-order Social Media Law in a Nutshell, visit the related link.


News and Communications Staff