Skip to main content

Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site

Search for legal issues
For help near (city, ZIP code or county)
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location

Secret Service Question Boy, 13, Over Facebook

Article Placeholder Image
By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on May 20, 2011 6:43 AM

If you want to keep things private, do not put it on Facebook. Vito LaPinta, 13, learned this the hard way after he was paid a visit by agents from the Secret Service. A Facebook post spurred the Secret Service into action, and landed LaPinta in a police interview at his school in Washington.

The post in question simply stated that President Obama should be careful about possible retaliation against him after the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

The 7th grader was questioned by agents at his school, reports CNet. LaPinta's mother claims that he was interviewed for 30 minutes without her present, and without her consent. What many people do not realize is that police and law enforcement officials can generally question children without their parents' consent.

The reason for that is simple. If police have probable cause that there is child abuse or neglect in any given case, getting the parents' consent to question their child would be frustrating the investigation.

Of course, the same laws apply for minors and adults. You do not necessarily need to answer the questions that the law enforcement officials are asking you, and you can instruct your children to do the same.

As it turns out, after the Secret Service questioned the boy, agents decided that LaPinta was not a threat. He merely explained what he meant by his post, and it was nothing menacing or malicious - he simply wanted the President to be careful, reports CNet.

Surely that's a sentiment that the Secret Service agents can agree with.

In the future, remember when posting to your Wall on Facebook - the Secret Service has eyes on the social media site. And, that during a police interview, though the police may ask you questions - it is your right to remain silent.

Find a Lawyer

More Options