Social Evidence

Video – Decision in the State of Florida regarding Judges Friending Attorneys on Facebook with Andy Adkins & Tom O’Connor

POSTED ON August 27, 2017

Miami-Dade Judge Beatrice Butchko Photo by Al Diaz - Miami Herald

Miami-Dade Judge Beatrice Butchko Photo by Al Diaz – Miami Herald

Tom and Andy have a rousing discussion surrounding the Third District Court of Appeal decision in the State of Florida on whether judges can friend attorneys on Facebook. Judge Thomas Logue’s unanimous opinion decided it is ok for judges to be friends with lawyers on Facebook. Read the entire article from the Miami Herald which states that “Facebook “friends” aren’t always real friends — at least legally. The finding came out on Wednesday and was specific to the following legal question: Whether a Miami judge needed to recuse herself because one of the attorneys involved in a case in her court is a Facebook “friend.” The answer, in a 10-page opinion that takes a remarkably nuanced look at social media, is: No. The ruling notes that Facebook data mining and algorithms lead to people accepting friend requests from people they barely know, or are acquainted with purely from professional circles.” Do you agree with this decision? What do you think about it? Post your opinions and let’s discuss.

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  • In my 40 years of practicing law I have always found it difficult to balance the relationship of Judge/Friend, Facebook or not. There are those unavoidable situations where friends become Judges but even that makes me uncomfortable when I appear before them. There is no doubt that friendship affects the thinking of people, no matter how hard they try. I agree with the decision of the Court about Facebook friendships but I also believe that Judges and Attorneys should strive not to put themselves, or the other party in that situation.

  • Hi Wayne,
    Enjoyed your comment. I am fascinated by this case. On the face of it, the court seems to go against all previous precedent in their decision including both case law (“No judge under any circumstances is warranted in sitting in the trial of a cause whose neutrality is shadowed or even questioned.” State v. Steele, 348 So. 2d 398, 401 (Fla. 3d DCA 1977)) and the Canons of the Judicial Code of Conduct. A MOTION FOR REHEARING, CERTIFICATION AND
    MOTION FOR REHEARING EN BANC was been filed on 8/29/17 and I’m almost positive that this will make it to the high court. You can read the Motion here.. Thanks for your comment.

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