A video shot in Fresno that was posted on Facebook and is now available at Fresno's ABC 13 contains footage that is potentially disturbing. More details will likely emerge about the context surrounding the recorded incidents but without any information except what is seen on the video, many viewers will likely be appalled at what they see. Last week, a woman in central Fresno was stripped, beaten and pursued through a residential area of Fresno while the events were recorded and posted on Facebook. The police are searching for the people in the video though they have identified the victim. She has, thus far, been uncooperative according to the ABC 13 news story accompanying the video footage. This incident, and similar ones, raise important issues surrounding social media and criminal law.

Everyone accused of a crime is "not guilty" unless proven otherwise. However, social media has created some unprecedented challenges for criminal defense attorneys and their clients. Of course recording devices have been around for decades but the ubiquity of hand-held video recorders and the ease with which videos can be widely shared allows disturbing footage to potentially create difficulties for people accused of crimes. While experienced criminal defense attorneys always offer hope to suspects despite challenges, it is advisable to everyone in this social media age to use caution when deciding to post video footage especially if the images are potentially disturbing. Typically, little benefit comes from having extremely negative public opinion directed at someone accused of a crime.  Video footage that has been widely viewed, especially when viewed out of context, can create such public opinion.