Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Judges Can't "Friend" Lawyers in Florida

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the lawyers-don't-have-friends-anyway dept.

The Courts 138

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."'"

cancel ×

138 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

The Book (4, Funny)

MikeMacK (788889) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406836)

Gives new meaning to the term "throwing the book" at you...

Re:The Book (4, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407952)

Judge Roberts and Attorney Smith are no longer friends, they've changed their relationship to "It's complicated. (See Florida ethics board 'Opinion Number: 2009-20' for futher clarification)"

blah blah blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406844)

A good lawyer knows the law. A great lawyer knows the Judge.

This ruling changes nothing. It will only serve to keep Florida judges off Facebook.

Re:blah blah blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406942)

A good lawyer knows the law. A great lawyer knows the Judge.

This ruling changes nothing. It will only serve to keep Florida judges off Facebook.

Seems to me the solution is to give them a choice. Let them be buddy-buddy with the judges, or let them appear in that judge's courtroom. They may choose one.

There's otherwise too much at stake when we're talking about the legal system. Anything that even remotely looks like maybe it could possibly be a conflict of interest needs to be strictly forbidden, with serious penalties for noncompliance. Once we feel that way about campaign contributions too, we'll have a better world.

Re:blah blah blah (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30407350)

That's nonsense. Lawyers are usually friends with many lawyers. Some of those lawyers will end up as judges. Are you saying that they have to stop being friends the moment another lawyer becomes a judge? Judges and lawyers are going to run into each other socially as well. Would you require them to completely ignore each other anytime they see each other outside the courtroom?

Judges and lawyers are people too. If you start putting ridiculous restrictions on them, you are going to find less people willing to enter the profession.

As the article states, Judges already must recuse themselves if one of the lawyers is a *close* personal friend. That's reasonable. However, there is a huge difference between a "close personal friend" and a "Facebook" friend. Most people on Facebook have *many* Facebook friends. A Facebook friend is not necessarily anything more than an acquaintance. No one would force a Judge to recuse herself just because the Judge has *met* one of the lawyers before... so why should we require recusal for being friends on Facebook, which could mean even less?

Re:blah blah blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30407728)

Judges and lawyers are people too. If you start putting ridiculous restrictions on them, you are going to find less people willing to enter the profession.

If this policy leads to less lawyers then it's hard to complain.

Re:blah blah blah (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408752)

Exactly. I have met probably around half of my Facebook friends in person, and at least 15%-20% I barely know.

Again the US fails at common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406868)

Seriously? most judges start as lawyers no?

People tend to befriend people with common interests no?

I'm glad to be part of a country where people are still people.

It's common sense (3, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407004)

This seems weird, but it does actually make sense.

Frankly, if I had to go before a court, I definitely would be very perturbed if the opposing lawyer was a friend of the judge-- yes, even a "facebook friend."

Re:It's common sense (4, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407038)

But there's the problem. If the opposing lawyer was a friend of the judge (Like actual friend, not just a FB friend), wouldn't you like to be able to look that up on Facebook?

Instead of trying to hide the friendship, it should be forced to be public.

Re:It's common sense (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407202)

Instead of trying to hide the friendship, it should be forced to be public.

Point.

Re:It's common sense (1)

sys.stdout.write (1551563) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407774)

How can you assbutts be all about personal privacy when it comes to your privacy online, but expect judges to make their personal acquaintances public?

Are you guys serious right now or is there a giant "whoosh" coming my way?

Re:It's common sense (5, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408064)

Very serious.

When taking up such a high seat you are entitled a VERY LARGE amount of power. You can decide if someone spends a fraction of their savings, or all of it, or if they spend part of their life in jail, the rest of their life in jail, or in some states, to even end their life.

With that power comes responsibility. You are expected to be perfectly impartial, unbiased, and free of all prejudice.

Given two options:

1) Your friends list at the cost of a biased judge in the future

2) A fair trial in the future at the cost of your facebook friends list

Which would you choose? I've already stated mine.

Re:It's common sense (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408122)

or in some states, to even end their life.

Minor point, but no, judges can't decide this. Not unless the 12 members of the jury also decide it.

Re:It's common sense (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408334)

and judges can manipulate the jury to get the verdict that they want. Juries are meant to use the interpretation of the law fed to them by the judge (and few of them realise that they can ignore it; even less would even know where to begin to figure it out for themselves). We saw it in one of those RIAA cases - the judge gave the jury instructions which had no foundation in law, and the jury promptly brought in an insane verdict. Now, in that case, the judge was probably just incompetent, and the jury's decision was chucked because the instructions were so badly wrong. A malicious judge, who is trying to deliberately stitch someone up for their buddy the prosecutor, could be much more subtle and get away with it.

The paraphrase Yes Minister:

BW: "Guidelines are perfectly proper minister, everyone has guidelines for their work"
JH: "I thought these planning inspectors were supposed to be impartial"
BW: "Well, so they are minister. Trains are impartial too, but if you lay the tracks in one direction, that's the way they go"

Re:It's common sense (1)

randy of the redwood (1565519) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408144)

How can you assbutts be all about personal privacy when it comes to your privacy online, but expect judges to make their personal acquaintances public?

I commend you for your grammatically correct use of the word 'assbutts' in a sentence.

As an assbutt myself, I find its rare we get the credit we deserve.

Re:It's common sense (5, Insightful)

Khris (1010709) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407046)

The only difference here is that you have a visual representation via Facebook. The opposing lawyer could be friends of the judge regardless of whether they are Facebook friends, and in that case, you'd never even know. This is absolutely ridiculous and a waste of countless people's time and energy. We're taking things far too far under the guise of trying to protect everyone. You can't bubble wrap the entire world! Let people make mistakes and then learn from them rather than precluding people from being able to make those mistakes and learn. Life experience is a huge asset. Being forced to blindly follow the whim of others benefits no one.

Re:It's common sense (5, Funny)

Again (1351325) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407244)

[...]You can't bubble wrap the entire world! [...]

Bubble wrap... the entire world... *stares into distance* That would be awesome!!!

Re:It's common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30407456)

[...]You can't bubble wrap the entire world! [...]

Bubble wrap... the entire world... *stares into distance* That would be awesome!!!

I'd imagine that punching holes in bubble wrap would get rather tiresome very quickly, then, where will you leave all that bubblewrap?

Re:It's common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30407646)

In some areas, it's considered improper for a lawyer to even ride in the same elevator as a judge. The legal profession cultivates stupid rules.

Re:It's common sense (4, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407094)

What if the laywer and judge were LinkedIn "contacts"? Does that make it better?

Re:It's common sense (3, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407560)

What if the laywer and judge were LinkedIn "contacts"? Does that make it better?

Yes, I should think so. Having someone as a LinkedIn "contact" indicates that you are familiar with and respect their professional work, whereas being someone's Facebook "friend" mean that you are hearing about (looking at my friends' recent posts) their politics, what clothes they're buying, their religion, jokes they're sharing, their dogs, their exercise program, their kids, their cats...

Re:It's common sense (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407902)

As long as it's openly disclosed and the judge recuses himself on demand there's no problem.

Re:It's common sense (1)

maliqua (1316471) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407120)

Hence the provisions in your legal system to disqualify a judge based on a potential conflict of interest, to simply say they can't befriend them is retarded. Or to expect that they will have no friends in the profession they likely worked as for many years while gaining there position on the bench. worse off is the fact that a social networking site is the basis to decide if a conflict of interest exists.. who has friends on there facebook list they barely know? I'm sure more than a few of you.

Re:It's common sense (3, Informative)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407660)

Hence the provisions in your legal system to disqualify a judge based on a potential conflict of interest,

Right. And, because this is a legal system, there need to be defined standards of what is a potential conflict of interest.

...worse off is the fact that a social networking site is the basis to decide if a conflict of interest exists..

It is not the basis for making the decision. It is a basis.

who has friends on there facebook list they barely know? I'm sure more than a few of you.

The law is that judges should not have a conflict of interest, or an appearance of a conflict of interest.

This is good. I don't want judges to have conflicts of interest, and I don't want them to even have appearances of conflict of interest. Judges should be disinterested.

Re:It's common sense (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30407370)

If anything, this would help the oposing party.

If I'm suing someone, and their lawyer is facebook friends with the judge, I can get the judge replaced if it bothers me.

If I'm suing someone, and their lawyer is friends with the judge, I can't do a damn thing about it because I never knew.

Since when do we care more about appearance than open disclosure

The end of an affair... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406874)

Jack Thompson and Judge Judy are going to have to keep it on the down low from now on...

Really? (4, Funny)

Khris (1010709) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406906)

When are we going to realize that the further we push issues like this, the more damage we're doing to our society. Pretty soon it's going to be illegal to look at someone if they're having a bad hair day assuming it's Thursday of the 5th month with a full moon happening within 3 days.

That's Fizzbin! (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407172)

Unless it happens during a leap year.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30407212)

Is that "within the next three days" or "such that the look and a full moon occur within a 72 period"?

Re:Really? (1)

Tolkien (664315) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407322)

You forgot the part about Carol's mother having an appointment at the hair dresser. :)

Re:Really? (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407882)

I absolutely think this was the right decision. Judges are in a special place where they need to avoid the appearance of bias at all costs. If friending someone on facebook gets a ruling overturned on appeal it's probably better than the friending not take place.

Florida Lawyer Jack Thompson is Lonely. (5, Funny)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406912)

Is lonely because no one wants to friend him in Facebook.

Re:Florida Lawyer Jack Thompson is Lonely. (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408108)

Sadly*, this was the case before this was the law.

*Not so sad, really.

oblig. Godwin (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406914)

Yeah, and if Hitler were alive and on Facebook today, he would definitely friend Mussolini and we all know where that go us.

Re:oblig. Godwin (2, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408162)

Yeah, and if Hitler were alive and on Facebook today

If Hitler was alive and on the internet we'd know how WW2 would have gone [4guysfromviewpoint.com] ....

Another Example (5, Insightful)

CranberryKing (776846) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406918)

of how social networks are only going to bite you in the ass eventually.

Re:Another Example (3, Insightful)

genghisjahn (1344927) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408068)

Lighten up. Make some friends.

Fore! (5, Insightful)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406958)

Of course, there's no problem if they all play golf together at their country club. It's the "appearance" of conflict of interest thats the problem here, not the "actual" conflict of interest that goes on all the time.

Re:Fore! (5, Insightful)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407056)

Of course, there's no problem if they all play golf together at their country club. It's the "appearance" of conflict of interest thats the problem here, not the "actual" conflict of interest that goes on all the time.

There you go.

And I for one would rather have any relationship between a judge and a lawyer be public knowledge.

It would be worse if their friendship were secret.

Re:Fore! (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408602)

Of course, there's no problem if they all play golf together at their country club. It's the "appearance" of conflict of interest thats the problem here, not the "actual" conflict of interest that goes on all the time.

True that. It is always about appearances in the public eye.

The judges and lawyers should just all join the same pro-copyright lobbing group, then everything will be peachy!

Good opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30406976)

At first blush it may seem silly, but the perception of equality before the law is as important as the reality. When the people lose confidence in the legal system it's effectiveness is degraded automatically.

Of course at this point it may be "bailing the ocean with a fork" to try to restore that confidence. That is another story though.

Since when is THAT a crime? (5, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406978)

If Hollywood has taught me anything about the Judiciary system, its that the prosecution and the judge are always the best of friends, know each other by first name, and might even have a heart to heart during recess.

Seriously though, I'm sure it'd be more beneficial if they tried to stop the ACTUAL conflict of interest instead of trying to stop THE APPEARANCE of conflict of interest.

Re:Since when is THAT a crime? (1, Troll)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407258)

Fact is, if you're stupid enough to hire a lawyer that isn't friends with the judge, you're going to get screwed in our legal system.

Re:Since when is THAT a crime? (1, Interesting)

Chirs (87576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407576)

How exactly do you know which judge you'll get before the trial starts? Or do you hire another lawyer once you find out who the judge is?

Re:Since when is THAT a crime? (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407686)

How exactly do you know which judge you'll get before the trial starts? Or do you hire another lawyer once you find out who the judge is?

And how do you know which lawyers are the judge's friends other than by looking on the judge's facebook page?

Re:Since when is THAT a crime? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407698)

You hire a lawyer who applies for a change of venue to the courtroom of his judge friend. Yes, I beat a traffic ticket on appeal once by doing exactly that -- and the cop issuing the ticket was not happy!

Re:Since when is THAT a crime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30407852)

The photos with the lawyer's intern sitting on the judge's, umm, "bench" are usually a pretty good giveaway. They may take some digging on the lawyer's hard drive to find, though.

Re:Since when is THAT a crime? (1)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407304)

Don't hold your breath for the lawyers in the state legislatures to make any laws that will impact them - now there's the REAL conflict of interest.

On a slightly unrelated note (5, Interesting)

macragge (413964) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407514)

I recently had the privilege of serving as a juror in a DUI trial. I was quite pleased to discover that the Judge appeared unbiased, if not slightly more lenient towards the defense.

Also, the defense attorney poked so many holes in the prosecutor's argument: that the jury only had to deliberate for about ten minutes. I was absolutely shocked to learn that he was a public defender.

On top of that, the defendant was a black male from the city while the jury was entirely white suburbanites.

Going into the trail, I expected that the system was going to screw the defendant, but the Judge showed no bias, the Public Defender was competent, and the Jury presumed the defendant to be innocent. Now I feel like the media is full of shit.

Sample size of one (1, Informative)

jeko (179919) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407962)

Congratulations. You have seen the system work the way it is supposed to ... once.

I asked a cop for directions once, and while he was rude to me, he didn't physically assault me, so I believe all these reports of tasers are false.

Tonight as I look out my window I see neither stars nor moon, so obviously all this talk of "space" is nonsense. After all, I've never been there, so it can't possibly be real.

Just because you haven't personally seen the train wrecks doesn't mean there haven't been any.

Re:On a slightly unrelated note (1)

linuxrocks123 (905424) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408502)

Remember that story about the guy facing years in prison over one single undeleted image of child porn? He's pleading guilty on advice of a public defender.

---inuxrocks123

Re:Since when is THAT a crime? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407928)

Seriously though, I'm sure it'd be more beneficial if they tried to stop the ACTUAL conflict of interest instead of trying to stop THE APPEARANCE of conflict of interest.

If we did that, then you'd probably next be saying we need to take measures to improve the actual economic situation, not just create the appearance of economic improvement. Bah!

Re:Since when is THAT a crime? (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408722)

The problem is, perhaps ironically, that prosecutors and judges often know each other much better than people expect simply because prosecutors come before the same judges on a regular, continuous basis. A city of millions might have seventy or eighty trial court judges. If you, as a prosecutor, spend every day in Court for a decade, or two decades, it's not at all surprising that you'd be familiar with all the judges and know at least a bit about them.

There's nothing you can do about that unless you'd like to ensure judges and prosecutors never serve terms of any reasonable duration.

what???? (3, Insightful)

OrangeMonkey11 (1553753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30406988)

This is just dumb; you're still going to have conflict of interest anyway because these people are most like friends outside of facebook.

Re:what???? (2, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407442)

because these people are most like friends outside of facebook.

NO!

NO WAI!

There's no such thing as friends outside of Facebook! In fact, there's no such thing as PEOPLE outside of Facebook. Those people out there walking around? Facebookers I haven't friended. Yet.

I agree (1)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407034)

This sounds like a legit rule to me.

If friends lists are public (and they now are, because FB no longer allows you to hide that), then by friending someone you make a public statement.

I think public statements should be taken seriously if made by people in official positions.

Re:I agree (3, Insightful)

sthomas (132075) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407140)

I with you on it making sense. Also, if a lawyer feels really great about his chance of a victory and posts that he's about to win his case, the judge would see that update. Then if the judge rules in his favor it gives the appearance that the lawyer received foreknowledge of a ruling. If it doesn't go his way, the judge could be argued to have ruled the other way to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

It's easier to just separate them, because in every court case someone will be unhappy with the outcome and looking for something to blame it on.

Re:I agree (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407958)

Yup.

Courtrooms are simply arenas where you bleed dollars instead of blood.

All mankind has ever done since the cave man days is fight fight fight.

Re:I agree (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407708)

As opposed to their private relationships?

The whole story is pretty inane, but publishing the relationship on Facebook isn't going to lead to any more of a miscarriage of justice than the existence of the relationship.

Re:I agree (3, Funny)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407972)

Yeah, it's important that we avoid the appearance of impropriety. Especially if actual impropriety is occurring.

Not for teens anymore? (1, Insightful)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407116)

I'm sorry, I might be a bit behind the times but... does anybody above the age of 16 actually use Facebook?! I'm 27, and Facebook has been around for quite some time now, and I still cannot find what the appeal is.

If you want to know what someone is doing, why not ask them?! You *DO* have their phone number don't you? They ARE your friend aren't they?..

At any rate, what could possibly be *fun* for a grown educated adult like a judge on Facebook? Can anyone enlighten me?

Re:Not for teens anymore? (0, Offtopic)

Khris (1010709) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407214)

It's one of those things you either get or don't get. Personally I like Facebook because I can have a quick glance at what friends are doing (assuming they post that info) and then comment as I see fit. Relationships with people have become very watered down over the years and now can be summed up by a few lines of text on a social networking site. Some people you invest more time in and have meaningful conversations with in the real world, others you enjoy only having to put up with small tidbits.

Re:Not for teens anymore? (1, Offtopic)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407300)

I'm guessing you have either few friends or a lot of leisure time. I work for a living, I don't have time to constantly call friends just to stay in touch.

Re:Not for teens anymore? (0, Offtopic)

maliqua (1316471) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407422)

Didn't people have friends and relationships before the internet? what did you do just a few short years ago before facebook existed, accept a life of solitude?

Re:Not for teens anymore? (0, Offtopic)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407484)

Didn't people have friends and relationships before the internet? what did you do just a few short years ago before facebook existed, accept a life of solitude?

No, I just accepted that for a lot of my friends I'd eventually lose touch with forever. That wasn't a good thing.

Re:Not for teens anymore? (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407486)

This. [zippythepinhead.com]

Re:Not for teens anymore? (0, Offtopic)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407742)

What did I do? Missed out on a lot of chances to hang out with my friends. There are maybe a hundred people who I would call "friend". Over half of them live within an hour's travel radius of me, and most of those do something interesting and unpredictable at least a few nights a week. When I get off work, you (and your grandparent post) would propose that I call 50+ people just to find out where I can see one or more of my friends on short notice? How about I just check facebook (the only social network with reasonable event RSVPing. Or possibly read a lot of twitter/plurk posts for the same info) and see that 4 friends are going to X bar and 3 are going to see Y movie, then call one of those 7 people instead of having to interrupt 10+ people to find them?

Re:Not for teens anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30408382)

He who has many friends has none.

Re:Not for teens anymore? (0, Offtopic)

Again (1351325) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407386)

I'm sorry, I might be a bit behind the times but... does anybody above the age of 16 actually use Facebook?! I'm 27, and Facebook has been around for quite some time now, and I still cannot find what the appeal is. If you want to know what someone is doing, why not ask them?! You *DO* have their phone number don't you? They ARE your friend aren't they?.. At any rate, what could possibly be *fun* for a grown educated adult like a judge on Facebook? Can anyone enlighten me?

Both of my parents have Facebook. My family has become quite scattered geographically and we have a family "thread" where we post quick random updates quite frequently which I find meaningful. I'm not going to call up my whole family to tell them whether or not I liked the latest movie that I watched but I am very likely to post it in this thread. Little, seemingly trivial updates keep me up to date on how my family is doing.

Also, I would like to add that Facebook provides a nice way to share pictures. Especially if it isn't easy to get together with the people you would like to share the pictures with.

I am not saying that everyone will find Facebook has as much value to them as I find that it has for me but I do not find it a stretch of the imagination to think of real grown-up judges finding value in a social-networking site.

Re:Not for teens anymore? (2, Interesting)

CecilPL (1258010) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407470)

I do call my friends. At least the ones that I hang out with regularly. However, it's just not possible to maintain friendships with the hundreds of people I've met over the years - though I would still like to stay in touch. Traditionally these were the people who you'd get a Christmas card from with a quick update on what they've been up to once a year. Facebook allows you to stay in closer contact without having to devote hours a day to calling everyone you know.

For example, I was going skiing a couple weeks ago. I noticed on facebook that one of my elementary school friends was going to the same mountain the same day. I suggested we meet there for lunch - we did and spent an hour catching up.

That's the benefit of facebook.

Re:Not for teens anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30407898)

I tend to look at it as a continual high school/college reunion - you have the opportunity to find out what happened to all of your friends from back then that you lost touch with (I periodically ask myself "what ever happened to John/Jane Doe?" do a search and friend request and see who got married, who has kids, and where people are working/living these days). It is also a push-based address book - those changing address push their new address out to all of their contacts rather than having each friend ask them for it. Same goes for phone numbers, email addresses etc. The list of people I talk to on the phone on a regular basis is quite small, but Facebook is a good mechanism for me to keep up with those friends I only see over the holidays (moved away, etc) during the rest of the year. For a judge whose friends are likely fairly stable, it provides the opportunity to see what happened to his law school buddies. Being in the same age range as you, I've also noticed it being heavily used for baby pictures.

Re:Not for teens anymore? (0, Offtopic)

Nithendil (1637041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408100)

Everyone is on Facebook. Even my mom and all of her friends. I only reluctantly signed up because all of my friends were on there. The reason I found it tolerable is because you don't really have to put much effort into it if you don't want to, and I don't post compromising information. Then an ex-girlfriend found me and sent me a six page email of her feelings and I realized what I had gotten myself into. Sometimes it is better to just disappear.

Hmmm.... (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407150)

Cue Florida judges friending every lawyer in the state...

like it matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30407160)

Judges are human beings and by nature are biased by their own thinking.

What a waste of tax payer dollars. (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407182)

Do we stop judges from hooking up with their lawyer friends in public or at the bar, do we spend tax payer money to determine how this can affect us, and how we should proceed....then the same is said for this. Why waste tax payers money on this...
if the judge hooks up with a lawyer thereby compromising his integrity, the opposition would have to prove of this, by having them followed and later give proof of the meetings. This is a way of them to try and deter this from happening virtually, but for them to think facebook is the only one and it's kind is retarded. Think msn hotmail, gmail, yahoo, even an online game like WoW has chatting integrated into it. Stop thenm from playing WoW too with others...come on...you got to be kidding me.

If they want to talk, they will, PGP is good for that...encrypt your messages from anynomous to anonymous, then you have really nothing...just a waste of tax payer dollars to conduct a study on why we should not allow judges with lawyer friends on facebook!!!!

Re:What a waste of tax payer dollars. (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407296)

Do we stop judges from hooking up with their lawyer friends in public? Given what the phrase hooking up [urbandictionary.com] means in the current vernacular, I would say yes, we definitely do stop judges from hooking up with their lawyer friends in public!

Seems like the simpler resolution is (2, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407206)

if a lawyer and judge are facebook friends then they are automatically unable to work together.

Right now you ban the record of the friendship so the best of buds can work the same case.

Re:Seems like the simpler resolution is (4, Funny)

SOdhner (1619761) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407434)

Man, if that were how it worked I know a few lawyers who would immediately send out friend requests to certain judges. "Wait, I never have to deal with _____ again? SCORE!"

Re:Seems like the simpler resolution is (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408314)

Good point. I guess it would have to turn on mutual friending.

And I bet the judge could find them in contempt of court or something for gaming the system in a way the judge didn't like.

But if they actually are friends... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407264)

It seems fairly sensible to me that a judge shouldn't hear a case where one side is represented by a close friend, and should disqualify himself immediately. I'm sure there are plenty of judges. If they're friends on facebook this policy should still apply.

Re:But if they actually are friends... (1)

maliqua (1316471) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407354)

The issue is not a legal one, a judge can be disqualified on those grounds already.. What they are saying is that they simply cannot be friends, the provisions to remove the judge is already there in the event they are friends be it on facebook or otherwise

Instead Force them to be friends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30407324)

What if we made all legal professionals require that they befriend each other? does that seem more reasonable. It doesn't seem less reasonable though does it?

They do it anyway... (2, Insightful)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407332)

Whether or not they declare it in Facebook, judges and lawyers do "friend" in real life. You have to wonder how often a judge gives a lawyer a break because of this. What the Facebooking of friends does is lift the veil off this and make bias easier to spot. I would say it's a good thing, and what I'd really like to see is computers used for a deeper statistical analysis of courtroom decisions by judges with certain lawyers.

I'm sure the legal profession would hate the very idea of this, but these days judges seemed vastly disconnected from society. Every time I hear a judge screech "*My* court" or make a dumb ass decision it's apparent they've forgotten they're nothing more than pubic servants, albeit overpaid and wearing silly black capes and/or pompous wigs. This is theater only the very rich can afford to participate in. The whole legal system needs to be tossed out on it's ass and reinvented from scratch.

Re:They do it anyway... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30407806)

Whether or not they declare it in Facebook, judges and lawyers do "friend" in real life. You have to wonder how often a judge gives a lawyer a break because of this. What the Facebooking of friends does is lift the veil off this and make bias easier to spot. I would say it's a good thing, and what I'd really like to see is computers used for a deeper statistical analysis of courtroom decisions by judges with certain lawyers.

I'm sure the legal profession would hate the very idea of this, but these days judges seemed vastly disconnected from society. Every time I hear a judge screech "*My* court" or make a dumb ass decision it's apparent they've forgotten they're nothing more than pubic servants, albeit overpaid and wearing silly black capes and/or pompous wigs. This is theater only the very rich can afford to participate in. The whole legal system needs to be tossed out on it's ass and reinvented from scratch.

speaking of disconnect between self and reality

I'm sure most slashdotters would hate the very idea of this, but these days most internet commentators seem vastly disconnected from society. Every time I hear someone screech "I don't like how something works, throw it out!" or allude to some imaginary class divide, it's apparent that he has forgotten that he is nothing more than a common plebian, albeit overconfident of his intellectual capabilities, such as they are. This is the theater that everyone can participate in and be modded up for such horrific ignorance. The whole educational system needs to be tossed out on its ass, since you apparently coasted through doing nothing but scratching yours.

This article is one particular instance of stupidity that most can agree on. Crying that the whole system should be "reinvented from scratch" because you, as an individual, feel its worthless only indicates your woeful lack of knowledge on the subject of exactly how the judiciary system works, where it was derived from, or what principle it stands on. Calling the system a theater for the rich as some sort of biting pseudo-intellectual criticism of the law profession is irony at its finest because you clearly have missed out on the facts that (a) its conducted theatrically for a reason (b) a vast majority of the people who participate in the legal system are far from rich. I'd continue, but quite frankly I'm sure you'll have enough wikipedia searching do as is. And please, for the love of christ, try to remember that deriding someone for being overpaid and under-worked makes you the biggest hypocrite on the planet, assuming you're not posting from Soviet Russia or the DPRK.

Posted AC because mod points for a basic civics education lesson should be a criminal offense in any democratic country.

The 'C' in 'AC' stands for 'Coward' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30408298)

I've never before seen someone able to be that preachy while still not practicing what they breach. You post is also presumptive and pompous. Butthurt lawyer spotted.

Which judges are you referring to? (1)

hellfire (86129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408302)

I'm sure the legal profession would hate the very idea of this, but these days judges seemed vastly disconnected from society.

I'm not so sure I agree with that. There are plenty of pompous judges, but there are plenty of more realistic ones. I have to admit I've been in front of traffic court judges for speeding tickets and not a one has acted like a jerk to me. They all spoke with that "dude you broke the law, can you slow down please?" tone which was entirely deserved. I also hear of judges who are working very hard with lawyers and homeowners to modify or even vacate bad mortgages so people can keep their homes. That sounds very down to earth to me. I only once had to deal with a pompous lawyer, and that was in tenant landlord court, but the decision he came down to was reasonable and fair, he was just very busy in a large city court and he doesn't have time to waste with all on his docket. And finally I was called into jury duty once and while I wasn't selected for the final jury the judge was calm, polite, and measured in every one of his instructions and didn't act like he ruled over all of us. Of course, my experience is only anecdotal, but then again your experience seems even more anecdotal, or is based on decisions on extreme cases you hear at the national level. Whether or not those individual judges are pompous and disconnected could be debated, but I'm not sure they are representative of all judges.

Every time I hear a judge screech "*My* court" or make a dumb ass decision
Are you a lawyer, court reporter, or bailiff? How many times have you heard a judge truly yell this? How many decisions have you sat in on that you considered dumbass? I'm trying to gauge your experience here because as a common person myself, the only time I've heard a judge yell those words is in a movie or TV show. As for dumbass decisions, I can only say I've heard of a number of decisions at the national level, even at the supreme court, I strongly disagree with, but only because either the law wasn't clear and the case was incredibly difficult, or the case was politically motivated.

it's apparent they've forgotten they're nothing more than pubic servants
Pardon me while I chuckle :P. Please spell and grammar check while you rant.

albeit overpaid and wearing silly black capes and/or pompous wigs.
From your previous posts list, I can only guess you are from Australia, because you seem to know something about events there. If I'm wrong I'm sorry, but if you are, it would help to qualify your comments. You would seem to be suffering from a disease my fellow american slashdotters commonly have which is "my-country-is-the-only-one-that-matter-itis". You couldn't possible be American since American judges don't wear wigs.

This is theater only the very rich can afford to participate in.
I agree but that's not the judge's fault, at least not in the US anyway, and I'm not sure how that would be the Judge's fault in any system that was borrowed from the British either. This is a topic for a completely different conversation.

The whole legal system needs to be tossed out on it's ass and reinvented from scratch.
In the US, aside from the money issue, I think the legal system is absolutely fantastic. It's built on law, order, procedure, and logic. It tries to guarentee everyone their day in court and tries it's best to come to the most reasonable conclusion in every trial, with as many checks and balances as possible. It's not perfect, and if you think any system never imprisons innocents or lets the guilty go free you are naive. It's also silly to blame judges for the laws they have to protect. The Law itself is made by politicians, it's for the judge to enforce that law, so if you are convicted for an unjust law, the lawmakers screwed you, not the judges. The US system not perfect, however, and could think of a few ways to improve it, but it does work. Sorry I can't speak for the Australian system but I hear it's relatively stable down under these days.

What if both lawyers are friends (3, Insightful)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407394)

I fail to see a conflict of interest if the defense lawyer and the prosecutor are both "friends" of the judge.
Unless of course you start weighing how much each friend means to the judge, relatively speaking.
But that path leads to madness.

Re:What if both lawyers are friends (2, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408146)

I see a huge conflict of interest. If they are both "Friends" of the judge whats to say they all aren't "Friends".

Prosecution: "Hey I'm kind of on a hot streak right now and I could be moving up if I get a good record this year"

Defense: "Alright, I'll let you have it, but he's really innocent and didn't do alot of harm"

Judge: "Okay, minimal sentence it is!"

Re:What if both lawyers are friends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30408376)

A massive conflict of interest in favor of prolonging the trial so that both get to bleed their clients dry.

Overly literal (1)

isoteareth (321937) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407590)

This is a case of people interpreting the term "Friend" as used on Facebook too literally. I have hundreds of "friends" on Facebook. I don't have hundreds of real friends. What I have is hundreds of people whom I have met, perhaps quite briefly, through work, socialization, hobbies and happenstance.

Re:Overly literal (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407748)

I am starting to think that they are acting to protect the legal profession; if the lawyers and judges are publicly posting their relationship, later on someone can cry foul about it, if they don't publish the notice, there is less to cry foul about it.

Disconnect from society (3, Informative)

thickdiick (1663057) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407644)

They really are disconnected from society. Same with the police. If you've ever ready about or spoken to someone in a police academy, you will know that they encourage recruits to only hang out with other law enforcement officers, to only play in their sports leagues, et cetera; it indoctrinates a "us" vs "the public" mentality that follows the officer for the rest of their life. I don't know if that translates to the situation of the judges, but one can presume that an individual given such immense power, a sizeable paycheque, and so little accountability as a judge soon enough develops little connection to "everyone else."

What about Mafia Wars? (1)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407760)

How are the judges going to succeed in establishing their illegal money laundering operations in Russia if you start whittling away at their Mafia?

How does hiding help? (1)

ikegami (793066) | more than 4 years ago | (#30407830)

This reminds me of the record industry's attempts to past legislation to kick pirates off the internet without explaining how it will increase sales.

If there is some relationship between a lawyer and a judge, how does it help anyone to hide it? Hiding it doesn't make the relationship go away.

Easy solution (2, Funny)

ascari (1400977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408000)

Use MySpace!

This is exactly the wrong direction (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408276)

If a judge and a lawyer that could appear before that judge are indeed friends, instead of being prohibited from disclosing that fact on Facebook, they should, instead, be mandated to disclose it. Why keep the friendship hidden? Hiding it works against proper ethics. I suspect the Florida Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee just doesn't understand what the internet really means ... which is about information and exposing the truth. So now someone is going to need to create a new web site to detail all those friendships between judges and lawyers, complete with Youtube links for the bedroom activities (OK, in the chambers).

Mod parent up (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408478)

This was my first thought too. Unfriending them on FB won't eliminate the conflict of interest, it will simply make it harder for an opposing lawyer to discover it.

Oh man (1)

gardel999 (1691708) | more than 4 years ago | (#30408412)

Is it just me or is Facebook the corniest thing on the net? If I had some friends, perhaps I'd feel differently.

Good Ol Boys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30408614)

I recon this is to prevent the disclosure of the good ol' boys network of this corrupt profession. It would be great, if I am charged with a crime, I can go to facebook and hire the best bud of the Judge I am facing, get a head start in my favor.

.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?