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."

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. icon
    Mike C. (profile), 11 Dec 2009 @ 9:54am

    Forget parties and social functions. What about...

    ...trade related functions.

    Conferences, seminars, education and training of any kind, trade shows. I guess those should be off limits too since a judge and lawyer may run into each other.

    Oh wait, new thought...travel. Imagine the consequences if a judge and lawyer were booked on the same airplane and sat next to each other. The HORROR!


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