, Salem, MA

October 17, 2013

Beverly man bailed by Facebook pleads not guilty


---- — BEVERLY — The lawyer for a Beverly man who turned to Facebook when he couldn’t reach anyone to bail him out after his arrest on Sunday suggested yesterday that what his client did is simply a sign of the times.

David White, 19, was arraigned yesterday on a charge of disturbing the peace, alongside the alleged host of an underage drinking party, Ronnie Alford, 42, of Juniper Valley Court, who was also arrested that night.

White was charged after yelling profanities and vulgar comments at police officers who were breaking up the party, which had generated numerous complaints, according to police.

The arriving officers found the entrance to the house blocked by illegally parked cars. When they made their way to the house, the guests ran inside, police said in their report, and Alford locked the door, refusing to let officers inside.

Police noted that they could see bottles and cans through the windows. Under what is considered a “community caretaking” exception to the Fourth Amendment, police managed to get in through a back door after someone left.

Alford was charged with keeping a disorderly home and providing alcohol to minors. He and his wife are also expected to face charges that they violated the state’s social host law. He pleaded not guilty yesterday and was released on his own recognizance.

White also remains free on his own recognizance, after a friend saw his Facebook post and showed up with the $40 fee for a bail clerk to release him.

Paul Moraski, who was hired yesterday just before the hearing, said afterward that in an age where young people more frequently text than talk, it’s only natural that something like this would eventually happen.

“I think it’s an indication of how social media is replacing phone calls and emails,” he said.

Beverly police said earlier this week that they agreed to let White use his phone to access his Facebook page and post a plea for bail money because he had been cooperative and respectful with them. Typically, people under arrest are entitled to just one phone call.

Could it ever reach a point where a defendant is offered a choice between a call or, say, sending a text message, the lawyer was asked.

“Maybe,” said Moraski.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.