Wednesday, October 13, 2021
A social media post drew a censure from the New York Appellate Division for the Fourth Judicial Department
Respondent conditionally admits that, in 2018, he represented a client in a child custody proceeding wherein the client was seeking an order requiring supervision for visitation between the client’s former spouse and their minor child, whose permanent residence was in another state. The client sought that relief, at least in part, based on allegations that the former spouse had previously left the minor child unsupervised with the 18-year-old son of the former spouse’s boyfriend, after which the 18 year old was adjudicated a youthful offender for having sexual relations with the minor child. Respondent admits that, following a court appearance on the application for supervised visitation, he published on social media certain details regarding the sexual misconduct incident, including the home state of the victim and the age and gender of the victim and youthful offender. Respondent admits that, inasmuch as he practices law in a “small town” where it was widely known that he was representing one of the parents of the victim, the information that respondent published on social media effectively revealed the identities of the victim and youthful offender. Respondent also admits that the social media post served no substantial purpose other than to embarrass or harm a third person. The parties stipulate, however, that respondent removed the information from social media after approximately one day in response to concerns raised by opposing counsel in the child custody proceeding.