Intimidating criminals, rallying citizens, and managing trial publicity in social media forums…yes, indeed!

Posted by on Dec 11, 2012 in Ethics, News, Opinion, Social Media | No Comments

Last May (2012), I blogged about the spectacular trial publicity move made by Mark O’Mara, newly retained defense counsel for George Zimmerman who is charged with 2nd degree murder in the shooting of Trayvon Martin (State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman). O’Mara rocked the “legal” world by launching (I believe the first) social media campaign, in his words, to respond to the overwhelming public interest in the case. Within hours of announcing his representation he said his offices were “inundated with phone calls and emails.” So, he did what any logical person in the 21st Century would do: He published a Facebook Page, created a Twitter account, a website, and a blog to address the public interest, and “give Mr. Zimmerman a voice.”

And how did that turn out for you, Mr. O’Mara?

To update the issues, I’ve summarized the trajectory (and dive) of the George Zimmerman Legal Defense team’s social media experiment, including additional lessons about law and order in social media forums (the prosecution takes the stand), in this guest post, “[Is] Social Media The “New” Courthouse?”  over on the ABA’s LawTechnologyToday blog.

Here’s the tease…

“Let’s forget, for a moment, the magical marketing benefits of social media and talk about law and order. Prosecutors and defense attorneys are right now, as you’re reading this post, initiating, hosting, or contributing to social Web conversations with ordinary citizens (all potential jurors, I’d add). These officers of the court are, today, boldly intimidating criminals, rallying citizens, and managing trial publicity via social media.

“Critics fear that the attorneys who spawn such conversations will ultimately compromise the U.S. legal system. Fans applaud them for their transparency; and for the access to information that was formerly unavailable to them.

“It probably can’t be reversed. It’s hard to stop the arc of history. Humans seek connection and social media has become a voice of choice. In the realm of law and order, these are their stories…”

 

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