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Is Social Networking Appropriate in the Judicial System?

posted Nov 7, 2010, 2:03 PM by Terra Beaton

Facebook has brought new meaning to the word “friend” which can make for complicated situations in both work, school and in merely a social setting. But what about in the judiciary system?  I recently read an article about the issues that arise when judges and lawyers become friends on Facebook.  Some judicial systems encourage judges to be on Facebook and have a lot of friends in order to promote their campaign messages. Others feel that when judges and lawyers become Facebook friends they are conveying an image that because of this “friendship” lawyers will be able to influence a judge’s decision.  And a final opinion indicates that a judge with “no friends” is also not the kind of guy that you want on the bench during a trail.


Should there be rules / laws about who judges and lawyers can be friends with on Facebook?  Should judges be able to make any comment about a prior trial on a Facebook post?  Is Facebook an appropriate tool for judges (or any other political figure) to promote beliefs while campaigning? Is there any reason to care about what judges and lawyers do in their personal lives?