Court rules Police posting suspect’s photo on Facebook an illegal search

Police departments the all over the nation post store security video images on Facebook to help identify criminals. Now according based on the decision of one judge that practice might have to stop. According to the judge the police violate a persons 4ht amendment rights by posting their likeness online.

An example of a suspect posted on Facebook.

An example of a suspect posted on Facebook.

Judge Chamberlain Haller made this ruling at a motion hearing this morning. The Defendant, Stan Rothenstein, was accused of tools theft from a local auto body shop. He was identified when his photo was posted on Facebook. Someone shared the photo to his ex-girlfriend’s page and she promptly called the police.

Based on her identification the Police got a warrant to search Rothenstein’s house. The missing tools were found and he was then arrested for burglary. Attorney for the defendant filed a motion to suppress the search claiming a 4th amendment violation.

Prosecutors said posting an image on Facebook is just the same as hanging up a wanted poster.

Judge Haller agreed with the defense. “A Facebook posting is not the same as a printed poster. A printed posts has a limited time it will hang up. It also has a limited reach. A post on Facebook is forever and has a global reach. Years after a suspect has served their time the image could still be linked to online and cause undue harms to reputations. Thus it is the opinion of this court online postings by the police of suspects is an over reaching violation of their rights.”

The city does plan to appeal this ruling.

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The staff at the CallTheCops are all people who now or at one time did work as police, firefighters, in EMS and even dispatch.