Social Media and Judicial Ethics Update (2019)
NCSC's Center for Judicial Ethics
A follow up to the 2017 issue of the Judicial Conduct Reporter, which discussed issues related to judicial duties: “friending” attorneys, disqualification and disclosure, ex parte communications and independent investigations, and comments on pending cases.
Judges' Use of Social Media: Tensions Ahead? (2019)
New York Law Journal
In his Complex Litigation column, Michael Hoenig writes: Judges have private lives and social media use can enhance their enjoyment and quality. On the other hand, they have professional lives too—making the huge American justice system work fairly. How to balance such interests is quite the challenge.
Judicial Ethics and the Internet (Revisited) (2018)
Judge Herbert B. Dixon Jr.
Judge Herbert B. Dixon Jr. asks: "Is it reasonable to question a judge’s impartiality if the judge “follows” on social media only one of the parties in litigation before him, and, shortly after denying relief to the opposing party, posts on his social media account an inaccurate headline and link to a news article concerning his ruling?"
Facebook is OK for judges, but it is not recommended (2018)
The Florida Bar
Judges don’t have to automatically recuse themselves from cases where a lawyer appearing before them is a Facebook friend, according to a majority of the Florida Supreme Court, but a different majority would be happy if judges stayed off the social networking site.
Social Media in the Courtroom (2018)
The Balance Small Business
Some cases have gained national notoriety, however, shining a spotlight on the effect of online networking in courtrooms.
Social media follies: watch your step (2018)
Four quick takes on social media pratfalls by judges, lawyers and others — just from the last few weeks. Don’t let these happen to you!
Twitter and the #So-CalledJudge (2018)
Southern Methodist University
The article concludes that in this day and age, when much of America gets its news from social media and those platforms are being used to delegitimize the judiciary, the third branch can ill afford to disengage. Judicial tweeting, within the limits of the ethics rules, should be encouraged rather than shunned.
May judges search the internet for facts? ABA ethics opinion sees problems (2017)
Debra Cassens Weiss
Judges can conduct legal research online for cases not cited by the parties, but using the internet to find facts concerning the parties or subject matter poses ethical problems, according to an ABA ethics opinion.
Watch Your Mouth, Your Honor: Lessons for Judges on Social Media (2017)
Judges across the country are getting more comfortable using social media — sometimes a little too comfortable. Maintaining a public presence online can be a great thing for judges who want to build trust with the community, legal technology experts said.
The Perils of Being a Judge on Social Media (2017)
For an institution that is supposed to appear at all times above the fray, it can get tricky when members of the judiciary decide to accept a Facebook friend request or even just retweet a news article. A set of federal and state appellate court decisions over the summer offered some guidance on what’s allowable for judge.
Judge shouldn't be booted from case because of Facebook friendship with lawyer, appeals court rules (2017)
Debra Cassens Weiss
An article in the ABA Journal discusses the state appeals court ruling that said a Florida judge isn’t disqualified from a case merely because she is Facebook friends with a lawyer who represents a potential party and witness in the litigation.
Social Media and the Electronic “New World” of Judges (2016)
International Journal for Court Administration
This discussion paper examines the future of courts in a social media world where the “like” button, and not just the legislature or stare decisis, may play an increasingly powerful role in shaping both the content of the law and the way in which courts administer justice.
Judges aren't sexy (2016)
Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System
This report breaks down the issue of judicial retention elections and offers goals and solutions courts can use to educate their constituents about the importance of judicial elections. The report provides: social media communications strategies; templates for presentation of statewide and individual judge results on JPE program websites; and recommendations for coalition building and grassroots outreach to ensure all available resources are being used.
Some Judges ‘Using Social Media Badly’ (2016, subscription)
The Wall Street Journal
More judges using social media has often meant “more judges using social media badly,” write Dallas trial lawyer John G. Browning and Texas Supreme Court Justice Don R. Willett in the February issue of the Texas Bar Journal.
The troubles of the social judge (2016)
Cynthia Gray, NCSC's Center for Judicial Ethics
West Virginia and New Mexico are the first states to add explicit references to social media to their codes of judicial conduct, according to an article in the recent issue of Judicature.
The Friend-Me Age: Appropriate Social Media Use by the Judiciary (2015)
Michael S. Sommermeyer
National Judicial College
Presentation slides show the do's and don'ts of social media for judges.
Beware of Mixing with Judges on Social Media (2015)
Ethical questions remain for judges using social media. Most jurisdictions have yet to reach agreement on the treatment of social-media connections with judges. In fact, the issue of whether judges can even participate in online social networking is still hotly contested among state bar associations.
Why Can’t We Be Friends? Judges’ Use of Social Media (2015)
John G. Browning
University of Miami Law Review
This article examines both the positive aspects of judges participating in social media as well as the ethical pitfalls. It will look at not only individual instances of judges’ misconduct in their use of social media, but also the varying treatment seen in the ethics opinions and judicial rulings from around the country that have addressed the issue. These decisions reveal that attitudes toward judges being active on social media vary among the states that have dealt with this issue.
New Mexico Supreme Court cautions judges using social media (2015)
The Washington Times
The New Mexico Supreme Court added wording to its Code that urges judges and judicial candidates “to exercise extreme caution in its (social media) use so as not to violate the Code.”
The Tweeter Laureate of Texas discusses judges’ use of social media (2015)
The Washington Times
Supreme Court Justice Don Willett gives insight into the do's and don't's of judges' use of social media.
Accepting an Invitation from a Judge to Connect on LinkedIn (2015)
North Carolina State Bar
This formal ethics opinion discusses the rules that a lawyer may accept an invitation from a judge to be a “connection” on a professional networking website, and may endorse a judge. However, a lawyer may not accept a legal skill or expertise endorsement or a recommendation from a judge.
The Use of Social Media by Canadian Judicial Officers: A Discussion Paper of the Canadian Centre for Court Technology (2015)
Canadian Centre for Court Technology
This report issued by the Canadian Centre for Court Technology urges judicial officers “to use social media with caution” and calling for more detailed policies and formal codes of conduct in this area.
Use of Social and Electronic Media by Judges and Judicial Employees, Advisory Opinion 14-01 (2014)
Arizona Supreme Court Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee
The purpose of this advisory opinion is to address common existing uses. Judges and judicial employees are encouraged to seek guidance from the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee (JEAC) regarding questions left unresolved by this opinion, using the process set forth in Rule 82, Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court.
ABA opinion cautions judges to avoid ethics pitfalls of social media (2014)
This article examines the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility in its Formal Opinion 462 (Judge’s Use of Electronic Social Networking Media), issued on Feb. 21.
Let's Be Cautious Friends: The Ethical Implications of Social Networking for Members of the Judiciary (2012)
Aurora J. Wilson
Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts
This article examines the recent trend in advisory opinions governing the use of social media by members of the judiciary and provides practical advice for judges to conform to the code of judicial conduct.
Social Media Dos and Don'ts for Lawyers and Judges (2010)
Judge Gena Slaughter and John G. Browning
Texas Bar Journal, Vol. 73, No. 3.
Authors Judge Gena Slaughter, presiding judge of the 191st Civil District Court in Dallas, and John Browning, a partner in Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons, L.L.P. in Dallas, offer advice for judges and attorneys using social media.