This Comment will first discuss the discoverability and admissibility of social media evidence in criminal and/or civil sexual assault cases. Section II(A) provides a broad overview of both federal and state rape shield laws, including the legislative policies behind their enactments, as well as the modern expansion of social media in the context of the legal system. Section II(B) will address the modern utility of social media in the context of the legal system. Section III first analyzes how courts look at discoverability and admissibility of social media evidence generally, and then focuses on sexual assault cases specifically. Further, Section III explores a criminal defendant’s Sixth Amendment argument against the application of rape shield laws to social media evidence. In conclusion, Section V proposes a modernization of the rules of admissibility in order to reflect the vast amount of social media evidence currently available during the litigation process.
Sydney Janzen, Amending Rape Shield Laws: Outdated Statutes Fail to Protect Victims on Social Media, 48 J. Marshall L. Rev. 1087 (2015)