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Utah Suspect's Facebook Friend Aided in Crime?

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on June 23, 2011 11:44 AM

This is a story of one Jason Valdez, Facebook, and his particularly dense friends.

While involved in a 16-hour armed standoff with police in Ogden, Utah, Valdez continuously updated his Facebook status from his phone.

Though most of his friends encouraged him to surrender, a few decided to take the opportunity to tell him about SWAT movement outside of his motel room.

That's a crime.

The entire Facebook-aided fiasco began when police tried to serve a felony warrant on Jason Valdez at a local motel, reports CNN. He barricaded himself in the room along with a woman, who he claims was there willingly.

Valdez included a picture of the pair in one of his status updates.

Most friends and family responded to his messages in an appropriate fashion, but CNN reports that a few took another route.

One of those exchanges, according to Business Week, went like this:

Friend: Gun ner in the bushes stay low

Valdez: Good looking out

SWAT team members were reportedly surrounding the building, and had to change tactics after this and similar messages.

So, what's to become of this friend of Jason Valdez?

Facebook updates of these sort, particularly because they alert a suspect of police whereabouts and cause a change of tactics, can rise to the level of obstruction of justice.

In Utah specifically, obstruction of justice includes intentionally preventing the apprehension of a criminal suspect by warning a suspect of impending apprehension, or by providing the suspect with means of avoiding apprehension.

Though it's unclear whether this guy will be charged, there's still a lesson to be learned from the story of Jason Valdez:

Facebook is where criminals go to get caught.

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