I have mixed feelings about Avvo.com. On the one hand, it has challenged the long-time attorney ratings monopoly of Martindale-Hubbell. While lawyers can “rig” an Avvo rating, lawyers can also “rig” a Martindale rating to some extent. Competition is healthy, even in semi-rigged BS ratings systems. Hell, even Maury Povich has to take some maurylogical market challenges from Jerry Springer.
On the other hand, Avvo encourages people to produce discoverable information like this:
Not that many people fit this description in 4000-odd strong Pocomoke City, in which town pretty much the only institution is the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, a relatively small historically Black university. I suspect that the prosecutor in this case would not be interested in trolling Avvo for admissions, but why not? Maybe in a small county like Worcester County, Maryland, that is inundated disproportionately with criminal infractions from the seasonal crowd in Ocean City, some paraphernalia charge from a decade ago in Pocomoke isn’t very interesting to the local State’s Attorney’s office. But what if this were a felony accusation?
You know who can read Avvo? Every prosecutor, police officer, probation agent, ex-girlfriend, ex-boyfriend, town newspaper reporter, town gossip, pimp, prostitute, drug dealer, co-defendant, co-defendant’s defense lawyer (private or PD) and the stupidest trifling busybody friend and cousin of all of the above. Make it a robbery case and not paraphernalia, and this is looking like Teh Big Stoopid really quickly.
The best advice that can be given to many of the inquirers is to get their business off of Avvo ASAP and to consult legal counsel – NOW. I await a service that will collect, index and data mine stupid posts like these in order to get the occasional gem in critical criminal and civil cases; while there’s a lot of junk here, there is probably an occasional “Antique Roadshow” unexpected find too for the inquiring and diligent lawyer working a high stakes case. I don’t know that law enforcement isn’t doing so. If NSA is going to tap or trace phones, you can bloody bet that they can collect and collate something like NSA. When will local police be able to do so efficiently, on their own or for a fee to a consultant in a big case? While it may not be admissible evidence in itself, it may lead to admissible evidence and who knows what sort of a subpoena a judge might authorize against Avvo upon receiving an officer’s “TKE” and affidavit with an attachment from that website?
I await the next gem to find its way into a divorce deposition: “I screwed around on my wife of 18 years twice, both times with a cutie from my church. How likely is it that my wife can take my kids away from me in court if she finds out? I don’t make much as a minister of the Gospel here in Pocomoke City.”