Updated: Jun 10, 2021
By Clayton T. Robertson (Criminal Defense / Civil Litigation Attorney)
One of my most satisfying recent experiences as an attorney was assisting a client (with the expertise of my talented co-counsel) to remove numerous online references to him after his criminal case was dismissed. This included images of his booking photo and online articles by various media outlets that originated from a press release by the arresting agency that unfairly described our client's role in the incident, particularly since the case was later dismissed by the prosecutor.
We were also able to obtain the cooperation of the arresting agency to remove its original online press release, or modify its site (including social media posts) with updates about our client's dismissal. This was all done skillfully with just the right combination of firmness and politeness by us. It also helped to have these emails written by attorneys, who have the authority to pursue the matter further if necessary, rather than by the person who is the object of the online attention.
Most attorneys will consider their work done after they resolve your criminal or civil matter. But I know this is only the first step on your journey after your case is resolved. You need attorneys knowledgeable about the collateral consequences of your case, no matter the outcome. One "collateral consequence" is to your reputation. In other words, you need attorneys experienced in communicating with law enforcement and media outlets to take down this type of content, if the request is appropriate. (Of course, there are no guarantees, and results are case-specific.)
In conclusion, this process requires a delicate touch that not only combines a firm request for removal with references to the facts of the case and case documents, but also humanizes you as a person who rightly is trying to move on with his or her life, particularly if your ability to do so is being hurt because you were unfairly accused and charged or the online references are inaccurate.
For more details about this service for a current or past case, whether it's criminal or civil, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.