FEDERAL AND STATE CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS
O'Brien Hatfield, PA GET YOUR FREE CASE REVIEW GET YOUR FREE CASE REVIEW Click To Text
TAMPA (813) 228-6989 • ORLANDO (407) 808-6750 • en Español (813) 390-2494

Woman sues federal agent over drug investigation tactics

Police officers and criminal investigators at both the state and federal level have broad authority and discretion in the investigation of criminal activity. Officers can and do employ a wide variety of tactics to gather incriminating information. Officers do not, however, have authority to do whatever they want. There are limits to what tactics they can employ during investigations and failure to stay within those limits can and should be met with a legal response.

A federal agent is currently facing a lawsuit over actions he took during an out-of-state drug investigation. The woman who is suing the agent was apparently arrested on cocaine charges. The agent reportedly used the woman’s photographs and other personal information from her cellphone to set up a fake Facebook account in an effort to elicit incriminating online statements from her friends and those believed to be associated with the activity.

The government has previously defended the practice of utilizing social media sites to conduct investigations, but in this case the Drug Enforcement Agency has agreed to mediate the dispute, a sign that they may not be as confident about the agent’s actions in this case. The case is a civil action rather than a criminal one, but the heart of the issue is privacy.

Privacy is a critical consideration in criminal investigations, especially drug investigations. Officers have at their disposal various means to do their work, but they must do so while respecting the privacy of suspects. New technologies have pushed the bounds of what may be considered private and what may not, and these issues must be handled by the legal system from time to time.

One of the benefits of working with an experienced attorney in a criminal defense is that any privacy issues at play in the case will receive the time and attention they need. In some cases, failure to respect privacy can end up significantly weakening a criminal case, and defendants need to work with an advocate who will help them taken advantage of available protections.

Source: ABC News, “Drug Agency Sued Over Its Fake Facebook Account,” Alicia A. Caldwell, October 7, 2014. 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Mark J. O'Brien's cases have been featured in:
The New York Times | The Miami Herald | Bay News 9 | abc 7 | The Boston Globe | USA Today | Tampa Bay Times | FOX News Channel | The Washington Post | abc Good Morning America | Chicago Tribune | NT News Talk Florida | St. Petersburg Times | Deadspin
“Mark, thank you for everything. I will forever be indebted to you. You have stood by me and believed in me when it was not the popular thing to do. You are an amazing advocate.” Adam Filthaut
  • Former Partner at the Law Firm of Adams and Diaco (Robert Adams and Stephen Diaco)
  • MJ (Todd Schnitt) Morning Show/Bubba the Love Sponge Clem Trial
  • Attorney Phil Campbell DUI Setup/Florida Bar Trial
More Testimonials
American Association for Justice National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers | NACDL 1958 Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers | FACDL Super Lawyers AVVO | See Reviews LC | Lead Counsel Rated g+ | See Reviews