Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cleveland's Social Media Criminal Law May Affect Terry Stop and Frisks

I have previously discussed Cleveland's prior misguided attempts to create ambiguous social media law. Cleveland has finally passed a law that may criminalize social media. This new ordinance (see page 25, sections 1392-11, 1393-11 and 1394-11) that allegedly is aimed at trying to curb flash mobs is very troubling and may create unanticipated problems that were not envisioned by its sponsors.

Will Cleveland police officers during a Terry Stop and Frisk check to see if someone is carrying a digital weapon (personal electronic device) instead of a physical weapon (gun or a knife)? Will this new ordinance change the Stop and Frisk procedures in Cleveland? Was this question even imagined by those who voted in favor of this ordinance?

Fortunately for those who live and/or visit Cleveland, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled a couple years ago that while under Ohio's jurisdiction people have an expectation of privacy regarding the content on their cell phones. Therefore, the potential for abuse of this new ordinance may be less than what it may have been had the Ohio Supreme Court not been so enlightened.

As I previously stated, this law is vague and will only create more problems than it will solve. The tremendous disconnect between social media and government policy continues.

To learn more about these issues you may contact me at www.shearlaw.com.

Copyright 2011 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. Is this not a federally preempted area? I'm not sure (it's not my specialty) but it sounds like it. I don't think state and local governments can mess around with electronic communications this way. I seem to remember that something like this was attempted back in the CB rado craze. That failed, legally, too.

    Lou Gots