Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

ABA To Judges: Be Cautious In the Use of Social Media

The ABA has pointed out that, as in "real" life, "virtual" life can pose pitfalls for judges who seem overly friendly to one side or the other. Be careful that your social media "likes" don't seem to endorse a candidate, a lawyer, or an organization, says the venerable lawyer's group in an ethics opinion issue February 21st. Here's a link to the text of Formal Opinon 462:  Judge's Use of Electronic Social Networking Media. It reads in part:

The Model Code requires judges to “maintain the dignity of judicial office at all times, and avoid both impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in their professional and personal lives.” Thus judges must be very thoughtful in their interactions with others, particularly when using ESM. Judges must assume that comments posted to an ESM site will not remain within the circle of the judge’s connections. Comments, images, or profile information, some of which might prove embarrassing if publicly revealed,  may be electronically transmitted without the judge's knowledge or permission to persons unknown to the  judge or to other unintended recipients. Such dissemination has the potential to compromise or appear to compromise the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judge, as well as to undermine public confidence in the judiciary.

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