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Truthful as Lived, In Reality or on Social Media

    Douglas Bedell
    By Douglas Bedell

    Categories: community, law enforcement, legal

    Geez, here's one that's really hard to take. Aaron Brockler, a former prosecutor in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, is upset because he apparently doesn't understand why it's not fair to seek evidence on social media via a concocted identity. Brockler, reports Nicole Black on the Idaho Business Review site, assumed on Facebook the identity of a fictitious former girlfriend of a defendant he was prosecuting and encouraged witnesses against the accused killer to change their testimony.

    Brockler was, of course, fired when his actions were discovered. Yet he maintains that, "Law enforcement, including prosecutors, have long engaged in the practice of using a ruse to obtain the truth. … I think the public is better off for what I did.”

    Using a concocted identity to chat with people online in a criminal case? Come on, that's deception, and our society's institutions of justice and fairness can't be preserved through deception, whether on social media or face-to-face. 

    Nicole Black supplies a half dozen citations as to why this is so – why social media is as much of an exchange medium as face-to-face communication. What's offered anywhere in our society – whether directly or interactively – needs to be as represented. Or else, how can we have any relational standards or, indeed, meaning?

    It's true that nasty people may be seek to take advantage of truthful conventions. But so be it. Deception is a negation of the values that hold our society together. A lawyer, certainly, should understand why that's so.

    At the end of her post, Nicole Black is identified as "a director of, a cloud-based law practice management platform." Yes, straightforward testimony, wether face-to-face or on social media is the standard expected among us, whether on our pavements or in "the cloud." Credibility is a value not to be trifled with – it holds society together. We need to believe in each other's testimony, and that's not possible if it's obtained deceptively.