I represented a client this week in Essex County that was charged with Harassment. The plaintiff claimed that my client had harassed her by sending nasty Facebook messages to her family member, which were directed at the plaintiff. The problem for the plaintiff was that the messages were not sent to her, in fact there were no communication sent to her, only her family member . Nonetheless, the plaintiff, not the family member, filed the complaint. The plaintiff swore out a complaint stating that she had received the messages.
In addition, there was an authentication issue with the actual messages themselves. There was absolutely no proof that they actually came from my client or his computer/phone. No IP address. Just because a message states that it comes from someone means very little in this day and age. The instances of accounts being hacked is rampant and it is fairly easy for police to determine the origin of a internet communication.
The messages were also not in English. This created an issue of accurate interpretation for the Court and the evidence produced consisted of snapshots of a cell phone.
Given the totality of the problems with the case, I made a motion to dismiss for lack of probable cause. The judge did not grant my motion the first time I made it, but when we came back to Court the case was dismissed as the witnesses needed to prove the case were not willing to go forward with it. This, I am certain was in recognition of the problems they would face if it were tried.