Joshua Scott Albert's Facebook activity suggests he doesn't much like cops. But is that a crime?
Philadelphia prosecutors think so, and announced a status update earlier this week: Albert, 26, is now a fugitive, charged with harassment, making terroristic threats, and criminal solicitation to commit murder, the Philadelphia Daily News reports.
How can a person's Facebook posts lead to criminal charges?
In Albert's case, it wasn't just a series of off-the-cuff posts that got the attention of law enforcement. It was a series of Facebook "fan pages" he allegedly created to induce criminal activity, prosecutors say.
The first Facebook fan page allegedly linked to Albert was called "I Support Chancier McFarland & Rafael Jones," two men accused of killing off-duty Philadelphia Police Officer Moses Walker Jr. in August. The page was soon removed from Facebook, the Daily News reports.
Two days later, two more Facebook fan pages popped up. On a page called "Kill John McNesby," Albert allegedly advocated the killing of Philadelphia's police union president. On a separate page called "Kill Seth Williams," Albert allegedly urged the killing of Philly's district attorney.
Albert's alleged Facebook threats weren't entirely out of step with the blogger's brash character. A former restaurant worker, Albert stirred up a bit of notoriety with his blog called Staph Meal.
Albert declined to comment and has gone into hiding, according to the Daily News. He may be looking for an experienced criminal defense attorney to dish out his defense.
Albert's lawyer may want to focus on the blogger's intent. For the most serious charge, solicitation to commit murder, prosecutors must prove that Albert intended for the killings to actually happen. In Albert's defense, the blogger may try to argue his pages were just harmless rants. If the case proceeds to trial, a jury may get to make the final call.
Joshua Scott Albert's alleged Facebook threats apparently weren't limited to just Philadelphia-area targets. Albert also created a page called "Kill Mitt Romney," which the Secret Service is investigating, according to the Daily News.
- Blogger Charged for Threatening Philly Cop, DA on Facebook (FindLaw's Philadelphia Criminal Law News)
- 3 Crimes For Threatening a Politician (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Twitter Threats Can Lead to Restraining Orders (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Browse Criminal Defense Lawyers by Location (FindLaw)