Thanks to a very misguided attempt at a joke, a teenage girl is dealing with a humiliating blow to her reputation and a teenage boy is doing time at a county juvenile probation camp.
Willfully using someone’s Facebook password for an unlawful purpose is a crime of identity theft in California.
In a recent California Court of Appeals decision, In re Rolando S., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law, the Fifth Appellate District affirmed a sustained juvenile petition against a minor for violating California Penal Code 530.5, one of several laws relating to identity theft in California.
In this case, after receiving the victim’s Facebook password via text message, the minor accessed the victim’s Facebook account, altered her profile in a vulgar manner and posted offensive and sexually suggestive messages on the walls of other teens.
The court concluded that the offense was “willfull” even though the minor received the victim’s password in a passive manner because he “was a free agent when securing the password for his future use.”
The court further ruled that the minor used the victim’s personal identifying information for an unlawful purpose, as required for identity theft in California.
Even if the minor’s inappropriate conduct was intended as a joke and did not rise to the level of annoying or molesting a child, the conduct could constitute “unlawful conduct” in the form of a civil intentional tort or a violation of a criminal law that deals with annoying people by way of an electronic communication device.
A helpful flowchart illustrating the rather complicated process of California juvenile delinquency cases in California can be found at California Juvenile Court Process.