JUNE  2015


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New Media & the Courts Resources


Law clerk in trouble over Facebook comments about trooper's death

Leslie Anderson, law clerk for a Middlesex County (New Jersey) Superior Court Judge, was suspended with pay for comments she made on Facebook about the recent death of a state trooper. Anderson wrote: “Not that sad, and certainly not ‘tragic.’ Troopers were probably traveling at a dangerously high speed as per usual. Totally preventable. At least they didn’t take any of the citizens they were sworn to swerve and protect with them.” *Update:* Shortly after receiving the suspension, Anderson resigned.

Advice: don’t Google how to rob a bank

A couple that robs a bank together, gets sentenced together. Earlier this month, a Texas woman was sentenced to three years in prison for Googling how to rob a bank, convincing her husband to help her steal nearly $600 from a Colorado bank, and leading law enforcement on a high-speed (120 mph) chase that ended just north of the Wyoming border. A week prior to her sentence, her husband was ordered to serve four years in jail for his participation in the robbery, including vehicular eluding and reckless driving.

Illinois law would give executors easier access to Facebook, digital accounts

When someone passes away, it can be challenging for family members to access the deceased’s digital accounts. A proposed law in Illinois hopes to alleviate that process. The Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, which is currently before the General Assembly, would “grant only fiduciaries access to a decedent’s digital assets, and only if permitted under federal law.” 

Texas judge named “Tweeter Laureate” 

Before adjourning the 2015 legislative session, Texas became the first state in the country to name a  “Tweeter Laureate.” Supreme Court Justice Don Willett (@JusticeWillett) humors his audience at least 10 times per day on Twitter about Texas pride, life with his children – aka the “wee Willets” – and an occasional law lesson. Currently, Willett has nearly 19,000 followers. Willett’s new title is unusual because justices are often advised to steer clear of social media, but Willett is careful to avoid topics before the court. He is also clever in his opinions, often including references in pop culture. In December 2014, Willett used Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to explain why the court should hear a case to answer the question, “Who qualifies as a member of the ‘electronic media’ under Texas law?” 

Social media tip of the month—become a resource on Facebook

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