As previously discussed, the Justice System is full of examples of technology advancements being used against individuals. However, the converse is also true as demonstrated in a recent Wayne County case. Recently, two Michigan brothers were released on bond after spending almost 25 years in prison for first degree murder. The Highers brothers always maintained their innocence throughout their trial and subsequent conviction. It finally took a Facebook post over two decades later for the brothers to experience the freedom that appears to have been wrongly taken away from them.
An old resident of the neighborhood where the Highers grew up posted a comment about the murder of a marijuana dealer back in 1987. Police investigated the comment and it ultimately led to the discovery of new witnesses who were present at the house when the dealer was murdered. One witness described seeing four black teens enter the house and then a gunshot was heard. This is a significant piece of information as the Highers are white. The Highers were released on a $10,000 bond and now await a new trial. Even though they must wear a GPS tracking device, they are out of jail for the first time in 25 years. Perhaps the Justice System that led to their incarceration will ultimately provide their freedom.
Such a valuable witness would not likely have been discovered 20 years ago. Conversations no longer take place only in person or on the phone. Social media has provided a new outlet for people to pass information back and forth, which presents the opportunity for hundreds, thousands, or millions of other people to see it. Private discussions are rarely private anymore. This has both positive and negative sides for those accused of crimes. Whether it’s admitting to a crime through a tweet on Twitter or discovering a new witness who claimed to see the real criminal, technology and social media has added a whole new dimension to evidence and its role in trials.
If you are someone you know has been charged with a crime in Michigan, contact an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney for an evaluation of your case.