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Sex Offender Gets New Hearing After Hearing Officer Rants Against Arial Font

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the at-least-it-wasn't-comic-sans dept.

Crime 312

ericgoldman writes "People often feel passionately about fonts, but government decisions shouldn't depend on what font people choose for their written submissions. In Massachusetts, a sex offender overturned the decision of a hearing officer after it was determined that (among other possible biases) the hearing officer posted to Facebook that he 'can't trust someone who drafts a letter in arial font!' and 'I might be biased. I think arial is inappropriate for most things.' This is just the latest example of how social media rants by government workers are causing problems for the workers — and the people they deal with."

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stupid coments, but.... (5, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | about a year ago | (#45529817)

.... most American legal jurisdictions have Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure, that specify the format legal pleadings are supposed to take. They're usually quite specific on the allowable fonts, font sizes, line spacing, the format they expect for the numbering of paragraphs, and so on. Lawyers and pro-say litigants ignore these rules at their own peril, as doing so is liable to get your case dismissed outright and at the very least will seriously annoy the Judge. Of course, most Judges don't take this annoyance, combine it with a bunch of other rants, then post it on Facebook....

It does amuse me that so-called higher educated professionals just as liable to open mouth and insert foot on Facebook as the immature uneducated brats (I was, like, at work, and like, you know that patient, like, from the other day? He's, like, a total asshole.) I have the misfortune of calling co-workers.

Re:stupid coments, but.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45529993)

It's "pro se", btw.

Re:stupid coments, but.... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about a year ago | (#45530091)

Thank you, I hosed that one. :(

Re:stupid coments, but.... (3, Interesting)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#45530095)

.... most American legal jurisdictions have Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure, that specify the format legal pleadings are supposed to take. They're usually quite specific on the allowable fonts, font sizes, line spacing, the format they expect for the numbering of paragraphs, and so on. Lawyers and pro-say litigants ignore these rules at their own peril, as doing so is liable to get your case dismissed outright and at the very least will seriously annoy the Judge. Of course, most Judges don't take this annoyance, combine it with a bunch of other rants, then post it on Facebook....

It does amuse me that so-called higher educated professionals just as liable to open mouth and insert foot on Facebook as the immature uneducated brats (I was, like, at work, and like, you know that patient, like, from the other day? He's, like, a total asshole.) I have the misfortune of calling co-workers.

It's not clear that the hearing officer was ranting about a formal legal document. He called it a "letter", so it could just be some letter that the defendant was required to write without any specific formatting requirements.

Re:stupid coments, but.... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about a year ago | (#45530247)

I hope you're right that it was something he was required to write for the proceeding, because if he's trying to wing it without a lawyer he's already screwed up. Letters from litigants carry very little weight with most courts, even those (small claims/traffic court) that primarily deal with matters that aren't usually worth hiring a lawyer for. Litigants are expected to know how to draft a pleading and obey the rules of procedure.

Re:stupid coments, but.... (4, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | about a year ago | (#45530201)

Yes, I've seen some of the specifications. IANAL, but I've worked with a few, and they've described some of the rules, and then shown me the spec to explain it to them. :)

To the best of my knowledge, the courts never had to deal with it. The Clerk of Court office would simply refuse them, and instruct the person filing of why they were refused. Like "Really, you can't use Comic Sans. Use Arial, Helvetica, or Times New Roman.

I'm guessing since he did receive filed papers with the Arial font, that it is accepted in that jurisdiction, and the guy bitching about it was just a dick. Admitting bias based on anything is absolutely stupid for an officer of the court.

This one (IMHO) is worse, âoelikes taking motions under advisement, but gets greater satisfaction denying themâ. Ok, so you just like refusing motions. It doesn't matter if there's justification for them? That's not how the judicial system is suppose to work. I guess it's good that he outed himself. He's just removed himself from the judicial system entirely. So much for those great career plans.

Re:stupid coments, but.... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about a year ago | (#45530375)

To the best of my knowledge, the courts never had to deal with it. The Clerk of Court office would simply refuse them, and instruct the person filing of why they were refused. Like "Really, you can't use Comic Sans. Use Arial, Helvetica, or Times New Roman.

I guess it depends on the court, when I did the pleadings in my divorce the Prothonotary didn't even look at them. They had my address wrong, I corrected it in the first page of my answer, asked her to make sure this was reflected in their system, at which point she goes "Is that in here?" All those hours wasted reading pleadings from other cases, the PA Rules of Civil Procedure, and tweaking the formatting of my documents until they were proper..... Heck, they didn't ask me for ID, not for the filing or when I asked them to notarize something. Gotta love small town America....

Another point to consider, a lot of courts also have electronic filing nowadays, so the Clerk may not even see your pleadings at all. Unless of course they have to print them for a technically challenged Judge. :)

Re:stupid coments, but.... (4, Interesting)

catfood (40112) | about a year ago | (#45530215)

Yes and no. When I had a case in the Ohio Court of Appeals, I looked all over the rules for information on font sizes and such. Couldn't find any. Called the Clerk's office. The person who answered the phone there said, "Look, most of our filings are from inmates and they're handwritten. We're happy that your brief is typed at all."

Re:stupid coments, but.... (1)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about a year ago | (#45530221)

Some judges need to get over themselves. They're ultimately there to serve the public, and for what we're paying them they can deal with the public not knowing their favorite font selections.

Re:stupid coments, but.... (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | about a year ago | (#45530329)

Century Schoolbook 12pt font is good enough for The Supreme Court of the United States, it should be good enough for any of them. Lazy attorneys use Times New Roman.

I am not a lawyer, and more importantly I am not your lawyer. This is not legal advise; if you require such advise, contact a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.

Re:stupid coments, but.... (3, Interesting)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about a year ago | (#45530333)

It does amuse me that so-called higher educated professionals just as liable to open mouth and insert foot on Facebook as the immature uneducated brats

Some persons are educated beyond the level of their intelligence. In the USA, that seems to be increasingly common in the last decade or so.

Re:stupid coments, but.... (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#45530383)

So, uh... WHY are there rules on fonts? Seems about as important as powdered wigs. I find some of those font restrictions are just an excuse to lazily reduce workloads. "You used form TP-27, not TP-27.1, so we threw it out. No they're not the same, TP-27.1 has a dot and then a number after it!"

Priorities much? (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45529845)

If you spend your time dealing with sex offenders, and your rants are about Arial, is it possible that you might have your priorities in poor order?

Re:Priorities much? (5, Informative)

KingSkippus (799657) | about a year ago | (#45529987)

Not surprisingly, the submitter grossly misrepresented what was said. In TFA, the Arial font thing was just a couple of lines in a much more troubling string of rants, stuff like:

- "it’s always awkward when I see one of my pervs in the parking lot after a hearing"
- he (the hearing examiner) “likes taking motions under advisement, but gets greater satisfaction denying them”
- On November 20, 2008, the day of the plaintiff’s hearing, the following comment was posted during working hours: “it’s always a mistake when people testify, because they get destroyed in cross examination”
- On that same day, the day of the plaintiff’s hearing, the hearing examiner also posted the following (apparently with reference to a different sex offender): he (the examiner) “hopes this guy doesn’t show up!!” which was followed up with “Tyson Lynch says yay!! He didn’t show up!”

...And so on. This is someone who is supposed to be fair and impartial, and the guy clearly has issues with the people he has a duty to work with.

So yeah, if I had a hearing before the guy that went south, I'd be trying to have it overturned also. I hope that the guy is fired and the people who did have hearings before him get new hearings.

Re:Priorities much? (5, Insightful)

Altus (1034) | about a year ago | (#45530087)

What is more disturbing is the thought that there have been and always will be people like this in power and most of them are not stupid enough to post this shit publicly... they just quietly sit there and do a really half assed job and determine the course of peoples lives.

Re:Priorities much? (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year ago | (#45530097)

Maybe all the newly freed pervs can go to his house for Thanksgiving.

Re:Priorities much? (1, Interesting)

odigity (266563) | about a year ago | (#45530107)

Firing the guy, ignoring the fact that it's likely impossible, isn't going to solve the problem.

The problem is human beings shouldn't be allowed to have power over other human beings.

Re:Priorities much? (3, Insightful)

reve_etrange (2377702) | about a year ago | (#45530225)

How can humans be prevented from having power over other humans if there aren't any humans with power over other humans to prevent the humans from having power over other humans?

Re:Priorities much? (5, Funny)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year ago | (#45530331)

How can humans be prevented from having power over other humans if there aren't any humans with power over other humans to prevent the humans from having power over other humans?

Replace the humans with turtles.

Re:Priorities much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530413)

How can humans be prevented from having power over other humans if there aren't any humans with power over other humans to prevent the humans from having power over other humans?

I believe what the GP was mentioning was the classic sociopolitical study conducted by a Mr. P. Pan, wherein it is shown that if everyone claps their hands and believes hard enough, fairies will appear and convert all of humanity into and endless hippy drum circle of togetherness and understanding, and nobody will ever have any dreams, ideas, or initiative that isn't shared or approved by the rest of the commune.

Re:Priorities much? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45530365)

That is an obvious and totally incorrect solution. We don't have magic software(or any other non-human decision maker) that can make responsible judgements about people. It doesn't exist. Humans are our best option.

Re:Priorities much? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530045)

Maybe he meant to talk about areolas instead.

Re:Priorities much? (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about a year ago | (#45530089)

If you spend your time dealing with sex offenders, and your rants are about Arial, is it possible that you might have your priorities in poor order?

I always thought the only people who used the Arial font were sex offenders. :)

Re:Priorities much? (5, Funny)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about a year ago | (#45530279)

You should get the opinion of the county serif. *snork*

He knows how stuff gets done (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | about a year ago | (#45530101)

I've never met someone who picked Myriad over Arial that I couldn't trust. Clearly he's discovered this secret.

In all seriousness, dealing with criminals as a profession doesn't mean you can't have a personal life. Maybe he's into typography and felt like ranting on his personal time. I've said similar things jokingly, though perhaps court workers need higher standards.

I have to agree (1)

east coast (590680) | about a year ago | (#45529857)

All government documents should be in a fixed-width font. Anything else is just crazy.

Re:I have to agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45529893)

All [...] documents should be in a fixed-width font. Anything else is just crazy.

Fixed that for you.

Re:I have to agree (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about a year ago | (#45529953)

Fixed that for you.

Re:I have to agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530143)

Fixed that for you.

--
THL phish sticks [techhelplist.com]
Reply to This Parent Share

Re:I have to agree (3, Funny)

tag (22464) | about a year ago | (#45529963)

| | All [...] documents should be in a fixed-width font. Anything else is just crazy.
|
| Fixed that for you.

FTFY

Re:I have to agree (1)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about a year ago | (#45529951)

And they should be printed on 8 x 10.5 government size paper.

Re:I have to agree (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | about a year ago | (#45530063)

Either that, or Comic Sans MS.

Re:I have to agree (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | about a year ago | (#45530243)

I know, variable width fonts let the proles guess what the redacted blocks actually say.

Huh (5, Funny)

Ultra64 (318705) | about a year ago | (#45529859)

"a sex offender overturned the decision of a hearing officer"

I'm not sure it's a good idea to let the defendant be in charge of the judicial process.

Re:Huh (1, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#45529965)

You would prefer that defendants be defenseless? In the US legal system, everything is on trial. The law, the defense, the prosecution, the evidence and witnesses are all open to scrutiny and testing. If something in the prosecution's case is not right, then the prosecution is potentially not right. I wouldn't have the system any other way.

Re:Huh (3, Informative)

Ultra64 (318705) | about a year ago | (#45530005)

>You would prefer that defendants be defenseless?

What are you talking about? There is no legal system that would allow the defendant to overturn anything. That is the judge's job.

I was just making fun of the typo in the summary.

Re:Huh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530031)

You misunderstand. Ultra64 was making fun of the wording--there's no way that overturning the decision was actually the defendant's action!

Re:Huh (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#45530115)

I'm not sure it's a good idea to let the defendant be in charge of the judicial process.

They aren't.

But when the judicial process is demonstrated to be biased against one group of people, things get tossed out.

In this case, the people that determine what threat people pose as sex offenders were clearly acting in a way that was biased against the people in there. (You can become a 'sex offender' for the damnedest things, like peeing in public.)

And, quite frankly, if you're posting the details (even in the broad strokes) of cases you're adjudicating and indicating how you hate these people ... congratulations, you have demonstrated bias and have possibly tainted the outcomes.

Due to Lynch's apparent bias, the court vacated the registry board's ruling against Doe and granted Doe another hearing. That resolution should be just the tip of the iceberg because every other case Lynch heard could be susceptible to similar claims of bias. Not only would any biased rulings by Lynch have potentially ruined people's lives, but it take years and enormous amounts of tax dollars to resolve the many likely bias claims from Lynch's prior cases.

That's not the defendant being in charge of the judicial process. That's the judicial process suffering a huge failure.

And if a judge went onto Facebook and said he hated all of the black defendants in his courtroom, then you could well expect a lot of his decisions to be reviewed very closely.

When your judicial system loses its objectivity, you are pretty much fucked unless you're prepared to correct it.

Re:Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530303)

This is a hilarious reaction to someone making fun of the claim that a defendant overturned a decision.

Asshats (1)

hduff (570443) | about a year ago | (#45529863)

People can have opinions, but those who feel the need to rant about such things are simply being asshats when they hold a position of public trust. They can reign it in or find a private sector job.

Re:Asshats (2)

Altus (1034) | about a year ago | (#45530103)

The rant doesn't bother me... its the decision based on factors that have no legal bearing that bothers me

Ranting against Arial is just insane... (5, Funny)

QilessQi (2044624) | about a year ago | (#45529865)

...now if it were Comic Sans, I would TOTALLY agree.

Re:Ranting against Arial is just insane... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530105)

Best post is best.

Re:Ranting against Arial is just insane... (2)

sharknado (3217097) | about a year ago | (#45530223)

...now if it were Comic Sans, I would TOTALLY agree.

How about Wingdings?

Re:Ranting against Arial is just insane... (1)

kmahan (80459) | about a year ago | (#45530241)

I assumed it was already codified in law that using Comic Sans got you the death penalty.

Re:Ranting against Arial is just insane... (1)

ninlilizi (2759613) | about a year ago | (#45530339)

Comic Sans is appealing to children.
Ergo. Comic Sans comes with a mandatory conviction of child abuse. Even if the defendent is only on trial for shop lifting or being fabulous without due care and attention,

Summary confusing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45529869)

" a sex offender overturned the decision of a hearing officer "

What?

Sounds like Comic Sans (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | about a year ago | (#45529883)

    He sounds like he must write everything in Comic Sans, or Canterbury.

    {sigh}

Oooh No. Most of /. is Arial font (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45529899)

At least in my browser.

Re:Oooh No. Most of /. is Arial font (1)

TheResilientFarter (3216187) | about a year ago | (#45529955)

Also, spreadsheets. I find I dislike spreadsheets that use mono-space fonts, Times New Roman, or Calibri. Arial just seems the natural font for spreadsheets.

Re:Oooh No. Most of /. is Arial font (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530059)

I find I dislike spreadsheets that use mono-space fonts

WTF? You want information placed in orderly rows and columns, but then you dislike it when all those numerical columns line up because a fixed width font was used?

Re:Oooh No. Most of /. is Arial font (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530145)

Arial looks better to me on low-resolution displays (almost every computer monitor), because serifs look ugly and anti-aliasing usually makes things worse. On high resolution displays (a lot of tablets and smartphones) and print on real paper, the original reason for serifs holds: they lead the eye and improve reading speed.

But the guy who drafts the letter... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45529901)

...in Comic Sans MS is an alright dude.

Cool Story Bro Time (5, Funny)

CB-in-Tokyo (692617) | about a year ago | (#45529917)

Back in the 90s, I had a job teaching MS Office to people. One class I was hired for was to teach a bunch of local judges how to use Word.

While discussing how to change fonts, one of the judges says, "Huh! Anal font, what the hell is an ANAL font!"

Maybe it is the same judge!

Re:Cool Story Bro Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530047)

It's pretty clear what was on his mind.

HAHA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530069)

Anal font - the font that's always a surprise.

Re:HAHA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530177)

It can be stretched to any size.

Re:Cool Story Bro Time (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#45530083)

Font is the same root word as fountain (use in typesetting derives from foundaries that cast type letter blocks, the font of molten iron.)

I am not really interested in learning details of an ANAL FONT.

Re:Cool Story Bro Time (4, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#45530183)

I am really interested in learning details of an ANAL FONT.

The Details of an ANAL FONT [tubgirl.ca]

Re:Cool Story Bro Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530187)

"Huh! Anal font, what the hell is an ANAL font!"

Typically something that happens after consuming Taco Bell.

Re:Cool Story Bro Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530327)

"Am Not A Lawyer" font.

Reminds me of Word Perfect (2)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#45529919)

I recall when I was first confronted with the reason Word Perfect was still (at the time) preferred for legal documents and especially court documents. That formatting absolutely needed to look a certain way even if it was ugly and primitive looking. Word Perfect could do it, MS Word not so much. I thought it was ridiculous, but perhaps not as ridiculous as this story.

Re:Reminds me of Word Perfect (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530131)

Not ridiculous at all. WP used codes for formatting that were clear and precise. Word uses both codes and style sheets, a confusing mess that bedevils most people even today.

Re:Reminds me of Word Perfect (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530253)

I recall when I was first confronted with the reason Word Perfect was still (at the time) preferred for legal documents and especially court documents. That formatting absolutely needed to look a certain way even if it was ugly and primitive looking. Word Perfect could do it, MS Word not so much. I thought it was ridiculous, but perhaps not as ridiculous as this story.

Honestly this is still an issue to some degree, although not so many people care anymore. It's not ugly formatting vs pretty formatting, though. It's WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). With WP, what you see onscreen is absolutely, definitely what you'll get when printed out on paper. With Word, there is a very small chance that the printed form will be ever-so-slightly different in a way that's legally significant (e.g. a word gets wrapped from the end of one line to the beginning of the next line). Page, line, and word numbers are very significant in certain legal contexts, and if it's not consistent, there's trouble. Also, I believe this is truly fixed now, but Word's word count feature at one point did not count the words in a document in the way that is proper for legal documents, and WordPerfect does. Thus for filings that have to be fewer than X words long, it was a critical distinction.

These days I suspect the usage of WP in legal areas is mostly just legacy carryover from the days when it was really required, but it was a real requirement with valid reasons, not so very long ago.

Comic Sans, on the other hand (1)

sandbagger (654585) | about a year ago | (#45529937)

That should be a shooting offence. I recall working for a company who had a new director of marketing. She did everything -- everything -- in PPT, even memos. Her preferred font was Comic Sans and the concept of a colour space for documents was basically science fiction to her.

Yeah, the company went under. How did you guess?

Re:Comic Sans, on the other hand (4, Funny)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#45530135)

That should be a shooting offence. I recall working for a company who had a new director of marketing. She did everything -- everything -- in PPT, even memos. Her preferred font was Comic Sans and the concept of a colour space for documents was basically science fiction to her.

Yeah, the company went under. How did you guess?

I guessed it went under because if the company went on to be wildly successful, then this anecdote wouldn't confirm your belief that the marketing director's memo style was a sign that the company was doomed to fail so you wouldn't have told it.

The court of public opinion (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about a year ago | (#45529957)

You'll never get hired for what you say on Twitter, but you may get fired for what you say on Twitter.

Re:The court of public opinion (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530267)

"Too many tweets might make a twat" - David Cameron, UK Prime Minister.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3Mrfut-FSw [youtube.com]

pssh rejection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45529959)

Rejection over arial font? He got off easy...anyone using arial font should be fried immediately on the spot.

"Social media rants"? (4, Insightful)

denzacar (181829) | about a year ago | (#45530009)

social media rants by government workers are causing problems for the workers

Seems to me more like "social media helps to uncover insane asshats among government workers".
Seriously, this guy apparently prejudiced against someone in a sexual assault case based on a font - he just gave everyone with whose cases he was involved a cause to ask for a retrial.
What are the chances an innocent person went to jail cause he didn't like their font or their hair style?

Once again this just proves that if you give asshats enough rope, they will eventually hang themselves with it.
I say "thumbs up" for the social media.

I don't know... (2)

Junta (36770) | about a year ago | (#45530079)

You can at least be more likely to know what you are getting when a public official rants stupidly in public. The people who never ever rant publicly likely harbor as bad if not worse sentiments privately, and the populace is none the wiser.

What font did they want him to use? (1)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about a year ago | (#45530015)

Most people write with the default font of whatever word processor they use.

Re:What font did they want him to use? (1)

jandrese (485) | about a year ago | (#45530231)

Seriously, maybe the guy is totally hung up on serifs? Ariel is basically a clone of Helvetica, one of the most common fonts in use today. It's hard to imagine someone with a burning passionate hatred of Helvetica. When I look at Ariel, the one thing I don't think is "unprofessional". Boring, and overused, sure, but definitely not unprofessional.

Re:What font did they want him to use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530297)

Wrong on all counts - Ariel was a mermaid, you clod!

Should shut up and be glad.... (3, Funny)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year ago | (#45530019)

I just this past week had the opportunity to read some legal filings in the case between a friend of mine and his former wife over custody. Since he can't afford a lawyer, he fills out forms the court gives him and does it.... BY HAND.

Give me some arial any day of the week.

Re:Should shut up and be glad.... (2)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about a year ago | (#45530205)

There is this archaic bit of technology, called a typewriter. They can commonly be found in a thrift store for just a few bucks. The best thing about a typewriter is that you can use it to fill in an existing form, neatly.
You might want to suggest it to your friend. Or just pick one up, and give it to him.

Re:Should shut up and be glad.... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#45530311)

The best thing about a typewriter is that you can use it to fill in an existing form, neatly

Unless the existing form requires you to enter letters in boxes, then the typewriter must be aligned for every key stroke.

Fixating on a tiny aspect... (3)

Junta (36770) | about a year ago | (#45530021)

There were several comments which seemed not to really be supporting claims of bias (Arial font, hating the word lascivious), together with some things that are as likely to be just being inconvenienced (e.g. a police report in spanish I suspect is included to imply racism, but is just as likely to be complaining much in the same way I might complain if someone gave me something in German).

But the vast majority of comments were more cut and dry 'I hate the people who I'm called upon to conduct hearings for', which would be the more relevant serious half of this.

Re:Fixating on a tiny aspect... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#45530357)

But the vast majority of comments were more cut and dry 'I hate the people who I'm called upon to conduct hearings for', which would be the more relevant serious half of this.

This guy deals with convicted criminals. He's not a judge.
Do you like convicted sex offenders?
The guy he was dealing with was trying to get away with not being listed as a sex offender, despite being one.

social media rant was the SYMPTOM not the problem (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year ago | (#45530033)

Raving on Facebook about a font means you're irrational and unstable. But you're irrational and unstable whether you rave about fonts on social media or not. Social media is just a handy and free barometer of already existing conditions. If anything, it should be considered a useful tool - people self-identify.

Re:social media rant was the SYMPTOM not the probl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530209)

wtf??? facebook is an israeli espionage tool (israelis run akamai, fb`s CMS)
who gives two shits in a hat wtf ppl Right on their fb?
much better to give the shit back to the shitters here on /. ......
anyone heard back about the israeli-excstacy-drug testing at inter-zionnazional IT firms?

Re:social media rant was the SYMPTOM not the probl (2)

tinkerton (199273) | about a year ago | (#45530285)

Sure there will be such cases, but mostly the conflict is between old style prejudices that date from a time when things weren't as public and there weren't as many opportunities for moral outrage , with a modern time that offers a flood of information that makes your private thoughts suddenly a lot more public.

A more realist reaction would be to be a lot more tolerant towards inappropriate thoughts.

Mass Legal System is Horrid (1)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | about a year ago | (#45530071)

This from a State where the data sharing laws are so ancient they cannot provide electronic files but only paper printouts, at 50 cents a page. And where our State Stormtroopers speed around illegally in unmarked cruisers, writing tickets for the same laws they are violating. Why am I not surprised that in Massachusetts' halls of justice, the only justice is in the halls?

Power trip (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#45530109)

Don't know that I'd fault social media for an asshat on a power trip.

30 comments in, 4 Comic Sans references (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530117)

There must be some kind of shit brown ratio this matches.

This makes me so angry that (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a year ago | (#45530153)

i'm going to write a strong letter using Helvetica Narrow

Not the rant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530199)

I don't think the rant is what caused the problem, but the passionate bias. We should applaud social media for showing us how narrow minded our government officials are, and keep them in check.

Do you really want to be judged by someone on the font your word processor defaults to?

In general, I think this is a very good part of freedom of speech. Even when it is disgusting, hateful speech, it helps us know that someone is a disgusting, hateful person.

Thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530211)

Such blessings should never cease!

What if the font was Kidprint? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530213)

Would that font be considered relevant to the courts?

I'm llling rnore - is that RN or M? (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about a year ago | (#45530251)

I can't take Arial seriously because I can't read it.

rn (RN) looks like m (M)
Il (IL) look like LL or II, L still don't know which.

The sex offender overturned? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530257)

I didn't know the accused was the judge. Fucking wow.

state default here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530261)

I'm a civil servant (teacher) in Germany, and all letters from superior authorities use Arial... I think it's the default for every letter from the "land" of Baden-Württemberg. The school uses Frutiger, as it's the city's "corporate identity" font. But, being a teacher, I'm still exposed to a LOT of, well, you know, "the" friendly, "child-appropriate" typeface...

Isn't it the default? (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | about a year ago | (#45530277)

I could be wrong, but shouldn't the Windows default font be considered a reasonable choice? Not everybody is inclined to change the font. And even if they were, what is wrong with Arial?

Wait a minute (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#45530287)

Someone blurts out they are biased and the problem is the rant was heard?
Isn't the real problem the fact the hearing officer admitted he was biased?

On another note, I'm currently at a government office and I just checked the default font in MS Word, its "Arial Maori".

Dumb article summary (2)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#45530369)

"This is just the latest example of how social media rants by government workers are causing problems for the workers — and the people they deal with.""

No, this is just the latest example of how people posting stupid shit online come back to bite them in the ass.

I'm still amazed that 20 years in, most people still have no idea how to act like rational, civil human beings online.

Oh sod off. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530387)

It would be WORSE if they had had the prejudice and kept quiet about it and still let it affect their decision.

FAR worse.

Solution to inefficient governments. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530391)

The kind of compete showcased here can easily be reproduced by automatically making all administration decisions with a cheap RNG.

Sex offender using social media? (1)

mendax (114116) | about a year ago | (#45530395)

This is interesting because web sites like Facebook ban sex offenders from using it in its terms of service (or so I'm told as I've never read them) and some jurisdictions ban paroled or probationed sex offenders from using social networking sites. And there have been some jurisdictions (California for one) that have tried to force all registered sex offenders to register with the government their e-mail addresses and their social media logins, thereby making them public record and allowing the Facebooks and Twitters of the world to easily find them.

This case is an advertisement for why everyone should have access to the Internet without restriction regardless of their current status. It seems that this guy was not on some kind of supervised release, for if he was he'd likely never find out about these biased comments by the hearing officer.

This case is also the reason why I don't blog or express too many of my more private thoughts online but instead sequester them in a paper diary. (No one reads Slashdot comments so this place doesn't count.) No one is going to stumble across my more biased ramblings and opinions through an unfortunate Google search.

Salient Points (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45530403)

The headline might as well read, "Sex Offender Get New Hearing After Hearing Officer Rants About Overcooked Eggs." The font or discussion thereof seems to have no bearing on the decision to grant another hearing, i.e. attempt to have an unbiased legal proceeding.

Ok, How about this one:

Sex Offender Gets New Hearing After Hearing Officer Boasts Biases on Facebook

Another social media "oops"... (1)

ErichTheRed (39327) | about a year ago | (#45530421)

Unfortunately, people still don't understand the concept of the totally public nature of social media. Even if this person didn't understand the privacy settings, sharing with "friends" doesn't necessarily mean those friends won't tell their friends who have their entire lives posted on Facebook.

I have no idea about the facts of the case, but I know I wouldn't want someone who was willing to post things like that on a public forum making a determination that meant I would never get a job, never be able to rent an apartment, etc. without difficulty again. I would want at least a shot at an impartial hearing, which it doesn't sound like this person is capable of giving. I'm sure people who deal with this stuff every day get jaded, kind of like veteran police detectives after 20 years of non-stop criminals. But, those same people expose their beliefs online and think it won't come back to bite them. When your job is to hand out the electronic Scarlet Letters, you shouldn't post/tweet that you're not going to give people a fair shot.

This is going to be interesting over the next decade. Either people will really start getting themselves into bad situations with their oversharing, or the next generation of MBAs/politicians will roll in and expect 100% posting of your life online. Public figures (teachers, judges, police, etc.) are under a lot more scrutiny than the average citizen also...and they should realize that.

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