Social Media Bust: Be Careful What You Post on Social Media

By Danae Snell

SACRAMENTO – By posting on social media, individuals around the world can connect with just one click. However, it can also notify law enforcement about illegal activity.

Defendants Marcus Grisby and Shannon Morris learned firsthand the risks of just a post or two on Instagram when they were at their preliminary hearing in the Sacramento County Supreme Court the day before Christmas Eve.

Sacramento Police Officer Jonathon Monroe was able to issue a search warrant after both defendants posted videos of themselves holding firearms – normally that action alone would not warrant law enforcement involvement.

But, and it’s a big “but,” both defendants have previous beliefs that made it illegal for them to own firearms.

Officer Monroe informed the court on Wednesday morning: “We saw Grisby post videos of him and Morris holding a gun on Grisby’s account and we saw a video of him on Mr. Morris’s account who is holding a gun. “

One of the videos even gave Officer Monroe the opportunity to identify the model and millimeter size of one of the firearms.

On the basis of this information, the officer authorized a search warrant only for the house of the Defendant Morris, since after surveillance it was found that “both persons regularly went into this house” although the defendant Grisby did not live on the property.

Officer Monroe conducted his search in the front bedroom of the house – which appeared to be Defendant Morris’ bedroom – where he found “a garbage can of clothes downstairs, there was the purple” SCCY “handgun from the video, and then a brown 9 -mm pistol from Taurus next to it at the bottom of the container. “

Officer Monroe believed the bedroom belonged to the Defendant Morris, “by testimony from local people, the fact that his phone was there on the bed and then there were men’s clothes and signs in it.”

After searching the defendant’s bedroom, the officer searched a water heater and found “a Taurus Tan pistol with a black attachment and two other magazines.

“The tan gun from the water heater was the same as the one Mr. Morris posted on his Instagram account,” said Officer Monroe.

Both defense attorneys, assistant defense attorney Anthony Crisostomo and court-appointed attorney Allen Sawyer, argued the officer couldn’t really determine if the firearms on the Instagram post were real.

PD Crisostomo pointed out that the guns moved throughout the video, meaning Officer Monroe “had no frame of reference for the actual scale of gun measurements.”

However, Officer Monroe stated that based on his training and experience, he believed that the guns in the videos were real because “the gun looks as a whole, is found through Internet research and is determined to be a real gun is about the very different features and things like a barrel that is the size of a barrel that can hold ammunition, a magazine that has a magazine attached to it, and all the things that go inside of us to identify it as real can firearm. “

Officer Monroe also added, “You can tell it is in your hand and pauses the video to watch it.”

In addition, the Defendant Grisby’s defense attorney, PD Crisostomo, stated that the only connection between Grisby and the gun was the video.

PD Crisostomo went to great lengths to inform the court that his client was sleeping outside in his car while the house was being searched and none of his belongings were found in the house.

PD Crisostomo argued that there is no indication that the gun from the video was real at all, but if it did, his client would not have access or any form of ownership of the gun because he did not live in the house in where the gun was.

In addition, PD Crisostomo added that “Mr. Morris took possession of both weapons himself. «

However, Judge Kevin J. McCormick replied, “Isn’t this causing problems for your client? Doesn’t that mean the gun is actually the one that was previously seen in the video with your client and Mr. Morris? “

Judge McCormick added, “This is a little unusual, a purple gun. First of all, that’s a bit strange. I am 60 years old and have never seen a purple firearm in my life. I’m around guns, so that’s a little unusual.

“Then you put the two of them together with the guns in a video, and later Mr. Morris claims it’s his gun. That goes far beyond what is necessary for a provisional situation, ”said the judge.

Judge McCormick found ample reason for both defendants to stand trial and concluded, “It doesn’t have to be your weapon, just a weapon that you owned or had reasonable access to at any given time.”

The process is planned for early 2021.

Danae Snell is a senior citizen of Sacramento State with a focus on criminal justice and hails from Salinas, California.

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