Tag Archives: Facebook

Appelman Law Firm Facebook Contest

As you may already know, we’ve been running a Facebook trivia contest for the past month. Each week we posted several criminal law trivia questions to our Facebook page. If you answer all the questions correctly, you will be entered to win a free Ipad.

Here is a compilation of all the trivia questions. The contest is still open until this Friday 11/9 at 5 pm. If you haven’t already, send your answers to ryan@aacriminallaw.com to enter the contest. Remember, you can find all the answers to the questions at our website: www.aacriminallaw.com.

Round 1 Questions:

  1. Where and when did Avery receive his J.D.?
  2. Where is Appelman Law Firm located? (Exact address).
  3. What is the difference between a DUI and a DWI in Minnesota?

Round 2 Questions:

  1. Where did Avery grow up?
  2. Name 5 areas of criminal defense that our firm practices.
  3. How is it possible to get a DWI without driving.

Round 3 Questions:

  1. Where did Stacy earn her B.A.?
  2. Name 2 Minnesota prostitution myths.
  3. What is the minimum fine for passing a school bus with its stop arm extended?

Round 4 Questions:

  1. Name 2 “DWI Do’s.”
  2. Name 2 DWI “Don’ts.”

Round 5 Questions:

  1. Name 3 components of the ‘Appelman Advantage’
  2. What age range classifies a person as a ‘juvenile’ in the Minnesota court system?
  3. Who is the newest associate at Appelman Law Firm?


Email your answers to ryan@aacriminallaw.com by this Friday 11/9 at 5 pm. We will be picking a winner next week, so stay tuned!

NY Gangs’ Social Media Activity Leads To 43 Arrests

 It seems the street gangs have taken to cyberspace, much to the delight of law enforcement. 43 members of rival NY gangs were arrested this week after boasting about their criminal activity via Twitter. The men, ages 15-21, were arrested on various charges including murder, assault, robbery, and conspiracy.

According to Brooklyn Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, “Gang members made the mistake of boasting on Twitter which NYPD officers used to help establish their complicity in murder and other crimes.” The bust was the result of a year-long investigation of crimes dating back to 2010.

Those arrested were members of the feuding gangs Wave and Hood Starz, each with their own distinct lingo which the police deciphered as part of Operation Tidal Wave. Officers tracked monitored the communications through Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. However, the men aren’t exactly shining examples of discretion.  A quick search on any of the three social media sites yields multiple users who make no secret of their gang affiliation. However,  it appears that since the police crackdown, most of the profiles and activity has been made private.

This wasn’t the first time these gangs saw headlines. In the fall of 2010, a bloody turf war broke out between the Hood Starz and the Brownsville Fly Guys for control of the Marcus Garvey Village housing project.  Two teens were killed and many others wounded in what seems to be an issue of kids losing their youth to the streets. This is very much still the case today; the average age of those arrested in this week’s bust was 17.

According to MN criminal defense lawyer Avery Appelman, this is a fantastic example of law enforcement employing social media to cultivate evidence against targets of investigations. However, these types of investigations do have their issues. “A problem with this form of evidence is authentication. How would the state seek to admit the evidence of someone’s “tweet”? There are rules governing the admissibility of all forms of evidence, whether they be oral, written or in most instances observations that witnesses testify about. In regards to specific tweets, presumably authored by one of the alleged gang members, the state will have to authenticate the incriminating tweet, (somehow prove that it came from the person they believe wrote it). This is problematic. Many people could have access to a person’s twitter account and use it as their own or for instance the account could have been hacked. The state would offer to prove the authenticity of the tweets through the history of use of the account (who the person conversed with on twitter, did some of the tweets reference events that only the account holder had knowledge of, etc). Once the authenticity of the tweets is established the tweets would be used as an admission to committing the crimes.”

Relates Sources:


NY Daily News

Cyber-Bullying on the Rise in Minnesota

Cyber-bullying in MinnesotaIn our tech-savvy society, cyber-bullying has become a rampant problem. Instead of pushing and shoving on the playground, bullies now harass on the internet, hiding safely behind an anonymous veil.

Cyber-bullying is the repeated harassment of a person through an electronic medium, such as e-mail, text messaging, or social networking sites (Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc.). It is most common among children and teenagers who have easy access to these modes of communication at incredibly young ages. According to the National Crime Prevention Council, 43% of teenagers report that they have, at one point, been victims of cyber-bullying.

There are several forms of cyber-bullying. The first, and most common, is when a cyber-bully harasses a person via degrading texts, e-mails, or other electronic messages. Another type occurs when a cyber-bully steals a person’s identity (i.e. their Facebook or Myspace profile) and defames their character by acting inappropriately in the social media sphere. All forms of cyber-bullying are dangerous and detrimental to a person’s mental and emotional health.

Since it is still in its infancy, lawmakers are now struggling to pass effective legislation that prohibits cyber-bullying. Only a handful of states have passed laws that deal directly with cyber-bullying. Most states merely categorize it under existing harassment laws.

Minnesota law states that “Each school board shall adopt a written policy prohibiting intimidation and bullying of any student. The policy shall address intimidation and bullying in all forms, including, but not limited to, electronic forms and forms involving Internet use” (revisor.mn.gov).

This statute is well-intentioned but not very effective. Less than half of Minneapolis Public Schools currently have a written policy on cyber-bullying. Schools also refuse to get involved in incidents that occur after school hours, which is when most kids spend time online. Even when an incident is investigated, it is nearly impossible for school administrators and police to keep track of a student’s online activities because of the anonymity the internet provides.

“Our current laws are extremely insufficient regarding this issue in that they don’t deal specifically with cyber-bullying,” says Criminal Defense Attorney, Avery Appelman. “Lawmakers are doing our children a disservice by not including specific cyber-bullying laws in the legislature.”

Related Sources:

Florida Mother Murders Son for Disturbing Farmville Game

Farmvilled Baby MurderJacksonville mother, Alexandra Tobias, pled guilty on Wednesday, October 27 to killing her baby, because his crying interrupted her Farmville game on Facebook.

Tobias, 22, was arrested in January for shaking to death her three-month-old son, Dylan Edmondson, in an attempt to silence his crying. She told police she became angry with his cries while playing the popular Facebook game known as Farmville.

Tobias shook her baby once and then went out for a cigarette to calm down. She came back and shook the child again, during which time the infant may have hit his head on the computer screen. The child was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead soon after arrival. The cause of death was abusive head trauma resulting from Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS).

Farmville is an incredibly popular simulation game developed for Facebook users. Players act as farmers who must successfully raise cattle and crops with the help of other Facebook friends. There are roughly 60 million active Farmville users. Many have cited the addictive quality of the game as being the catalyst for Tobias’s aggression. Other evidence shifts the blame to the young mother’s mental state which, according to Tobias, had been deteriorating since the death of her mother.

“This is a truly tragic situation. Ms. Tobias will live the rest of her life knowing she murdered her son,” says Criminal Defense Attorney, Avery Appelman. “Her lawyer should avoid blaming Farmville for the murder and instead highlight the fact that Tobias’s actions were the result of an unskilled, emotionally compromised young mother who had no coping powers.”

Tobias faces a minimum of 25 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison. Her sentencing is scheduled for this December.

Related Sources: