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New Media & the Courts Resources


New Washington website allows users to access court opinions
Wendy Ferrell, Associate Director, Communications and Public Outreach,
Administrative Office of the Courts for the Washington Supreme Court

The Washington Supreme Court has developed a website to provide free access to the full historical set of published opinions of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, dating back to territory district courts in 1853. The Washington State Judicial Opinions website was created to “enhance access to justice by providing the public with free access to an accurate online version of the state’s precedential case law and to bring us closer to the point of having fully official opinions available online.”

Article gives judges do's and don'ts of social media engagement

In an article in the February issue of the Texas Bar Journal, Dallas trial lawyer John G. Browning and Texas Supreme Court Justice Don R. Willett discuss common mistakes judges make on Facebook and Twitter, cite some recent examples of judges behaving badly, and offer their advice when posting on social media sites.  “Judges need to be mindful of the power, specific features, and limitations of sites like Facebook and Twitter. ‘Judge’ need not be synonymous with humorless fuddyduddy, but certain cardinal rules must be followed. Chief among these is that the ethical restrictions applicable to every other means of communication are just as applicable to social media.”

Gang member jailed after social media posts shows 'fascination with guns'

Christopher Charriez, a member of the "Straight Cash Money Gang," is awaiting trial on charges of corrupt organizations, aggravated assault, fleeing or eluding police, drug charges and conspiracy in connection with his alleged gang activity. Assistant District Attorney Jason Whalley presented copies of social media posts to Judge Steven T. O'Neill, in which Charriez and the gang displayed a fascination with guns. Whalley argued that the gang "seems to be a very violent organization just by the social media propaganda they put out there, the commonwealth alleges, to intimidate others who would go against them." Judge O'Neill set his bail at $350,000 cash.

Suspect uses courtroom to get more followers on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat

Earlier this month, murder suspect Albert Lavern Taylor, 22, stood in front of a judge and asked about the cameras hanging in the courtroom. When judge explained the cameras were for the news media, the suspect turned to the cameras and said “What’s up, y’all? Are you following me on Twitter?” “Follow me on Instagram.” “Snapchat.” Coincidentally, police believe social media was a factor for the murder. Authorities claim the third suspect, Jamari Trayvar Fair, deleted a Facebook post that would implicate him in the killing. “You can remove post but it’s never really deleted once it’s been posted PREMEDITATED MURDER,” one friend commented under Fair’s most recent profile picture.

NCSC’s most popular Facebook post…ever!

Earlier this month, NCSC posted a story about a Pennsylvania judge who hung a sign telling his constituents that “Pajamas are NOT appropriate attire for District Court.” The story obviously struck a chord with our followers, garnering 297 likes and 121 shares.

Social media tip of the monthMake visual a ritual.

Courts – get your followers attention by making visual a ritual. You'll be pleasantly surprised how many more likes, shares, and followers you'll gain when you post high-quality images with resounding emotion.

We welcome suggestions for future content and feedback on current issues.
Please e-mail Deirdre Roesch.