In order to better understand witness intimidation in the age of social media, one must examine both the forms it has taken as well as the response by law enforcement and the criminal justice system. As this article points out, the digital age has brought with it a host of new ways in which witnesses may be subjected to online harassment and intimidation across multiple platforms, and those means have been used to target not only victims and fact witnesses but even prosecutors and expert witnesses as well. The article will also examine potential responses to the problem of witness intimidation via social media, including proposed legislation. And while the focus of this article is on this problem as it currently stands in the United States, it should be remembered that just as social networking is a worldwide phenomenon, the use of such platforms for witness intimidation is an international problem. For example, Arab women living in the United States who have filed domestic abuse charges against their husbands have reported members of their families overseas being intimidated and harassed through social media postings as a form of pressure on the complaining victim. And in Mexico, drug cartels use social media to harass and target those who report their actions.
Recommended CitationJohn Browning, #Snitches Get Stitches: Witness Intimidation in the Age of Facebook and Twitter, 35 Pace L. Rev. 192 (2014)
Available at: http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/plr/vol35/iss1/7