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.
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