Social Media Companies Must Turn Over Some User Communications to Criminal Defendants, California Supreme Court Rules

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A lit sign is seen at the entrance to Facebook's corporate headquarters location in Menlo Park on March 21, 2018. (Credit: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

A lit sign is seen at the entrance to Facebook's corporate headquarters location in Menlo Park on March 21, 2018. (Credit: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Facebook and other social media companies should turn over users’ public communications to criminal defendants in response to subpoenas, the California Supreme Court decided unanimously Thursday.

The ruling, a victory for the criminal defense bar, overturned an appeals court decision that said the defense lawyers could not force media companies to comply with such subpoenas prior to trial.

Defense lawyers have been fighting since 2008 to be able to have access to social media accounts to defend their clients. The media companies have refused access, saying a federal privacy law barred cooperation except in limited circumstances.

Police and prosecutors, though, are able to obtain the communications through warrants and subpoenas.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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