Florida Says Judges Can't Even Be Facebook Friends With Lawyers

from the lead-a-solitary-life,-please dept

Earlier this year, we wrote about a lawsuit in North Carolina, where the judge friended one of the lawyers, and read and exchanged messages about the case with the lawyer on Facebook. That, obviously, seemed a bit extreme -- but what about just the plain old act of "friending" between a judge and a lawyer. Down in Florida, they've decided that's simply not allowed at all:
Whether a judge may add lawyers who may appear before the judge as "friends" on a social networking site, and permit such lawyers to add the judge as their "friend."

ANSWER: No.
That doesn't leave much room for ambiguity, does it? But, as Venkat Balasubramani notes, this is somewhat ridiculous. Judges and lawyers often have social relationships beyond the court, and pretending those don't exist just on Facebook seems pretty artificial.
My question to the advisory committee is whether this means that it's now inappropriate for a judge to have lunch with a lawyer friend, or engage in email banter with lawyer friends? Is attending the same party now off limits? I assume these actions would still be viewed as appropriate, given that lawyers and judges interact socially (and publicly) all the time. What's so special about Facebook friendship?

Filed Under: florida, judges, lawyers, social networks


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  1. identicon
    The Cenobyte, 11 Dec 2009 @ 11:24am

    I say no.....

    I say 'no they shouldn't be allowed to spend time together outside of work'. Why not, these people honestly have done their best to twist the legal system and screw the public for decades now. They have made the legal system so complicated that no one can defend themselves and they make it so expensive to get professional help that the inocent end up in jail because they can't afford someone to really defend them.

    I hate lawyers, they force the letter of the law down our throat whiel ingoring the spirit. If people in families treated each other the way the legal system treats non-lawyers there would ge a lot fewer families. Maybe if we make Lawyers and Judges into Social Pariah we can drive them out of existance.

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