If You’re a Prisioner Trying to Hide Your Unauthorized Phone, Don’t Brag About the Phone on Facebook! — Lloyd v. Shartle
[Post by Venkat Balasubramani]
Lloyd v. Shartle, 11-1419 (JBS) (D.N.J.; Sept. 21, 2012)
We’ve posted a ton about people imprudently posting stuff to their Facebook account that comes back to haunt them in litigation. (Eric has catalogued some of these on his personal blog as well.) This case falls into this category.
Lloyd was serving a 168 month term for drug charges. He was charged with using a contraband cell phone to create an “unauthorized” email account “and to circumvent the prison telephone system.” He denied the charges saying they weren’t true.
Unfortunately for him, he had a Facebook account. Presumably he would need a phone or computer to set up this Facebook account but he said that his sister set up the account, and get this .. he claimed:
[h]e would call her from the institution phone, and tell her what to write [on his Facebook account].
Unfortunately for him, not only did he use the phone to post to the Facebook account (contradicting his incredible version of events that his sister would update his account after he phoned in his status messages), he actually posted about his phone on his Facebook account:
(1) I GOT A NEW PHONE AND IM HAVING PROBLEMS GETTING IT TURNED ON. LONG STORY! I SHOULD BE BACK ON TOMORROW SO IF U DIDN’T HEAR FROM TODAY THAT’S THE REASON.; (2) This is my new number XXX-XXX-XXXX.; (3) I just burned my phone out so I got a major headache, right now. Literally!; (4) I called u twice from the prison phone but u didn’t answer ur phone. I’ll try to hit u tomorrow, ok? Do not say anything about a cell phone.
Ouch. That’s pretty much all the court needs to conclude that the prison’s disciplinary charges were valid.
There’s no moral to the story other than the moral to every Facebook-post-that-is-contrary-to-a-litigant’s-interest story.