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Monday, February 26, 2007

CrimProf Charles Weisselberg Discusses Prosecutor Blogs

WessFrom sfgate.com: University of California Boalt Hall CrimProf Charles Weisselberg recently discussed the issue of prosecutors writing their own blogs. 

CrimProf Charles Weisselberg questioned whether writing a blog or online column is acceptable for a district attorney, particularly since prosecutors are expected to "re-examine their position when new evidence comes to light."

The discussion came to light due to Kern County California District Attorney Ed Jagels, like some other Prosecutors, recently starting his own blog. He recently posted his discourse -- a one-page column detailing what he called "shoddy journalism" by the Bakersfield Californian newspaper -- on the publicly funded county Web site.

The trend is raising questions about ethical impropriety and legality as well as plain common sense. Those concerns are particularly acute, experts say, if prosecutors are commenting on pending cases. They warn that these public officials may be opening themselves up to lawsuits and appeals -- which taxpayers would end up paying for.

The California State Bar Association, still catching up with the implications of the digital age, does not have any rules regarding blogs or online columns. The association does, however, bar lawyers from making public statements that could prejudice a proceeding. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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