Judges Can't "Friend" Lawyers in Florida
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December 11 '09 at 01:15 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's lawyers-don't-have-friends-anyway deptartment
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that Florida's Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee has found in a recent opinion that judges and lawyers can no longer be Facebook friends. The committee says that when judges 'friend' lawyers who may appear before them, it creates the appearance of a conflict of interest, since it 'reasonably conveys to others the impression that these lawyer "friends" are in a special position to influence the judge.' Stephen Gillers, a legal ethics expert at New York University, says the Florida rule goes too far. 'In my view, they are being hypersensitive because in the case of a truly close friendship between a judge and a lawyer involved in a case, the other side can simply seek to disqualify the judge. Judges do not "drop out of society when they become judges," Gillers says. "The people who were their friends before they went on the bench remained their friends, and many of them were lawyers." Still, legal sycophants can take heart: lawyers can declare themselves Facebook "fans" of judges, the committee says, "as long as the judge or committee controlling the site cannot accept or reject the lawyer's listing of himself or herself on the site."'"
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