Facebook conflicts have judges and lawyers defriending

6:53 PM, Jan 25, 2013   |    comments
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Jacksonville, Fla. -- Judges on the First Coast are well aware of the social dilemma with Facebook that has them asking attorneys to 'defriend' them to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

Already a South Florida judge was removed from a case when his Facebook connection with a prosecutor became an issue.

Circuit Court Judge Marke Borello who recently was elected and sits on the bench in Clay County recently went on Facebook to reach his friends.

Borello posted on January 13, "A recent court decision states that a judge cannot be facebook friends with attorneys who may appear in their courtroom. If this applies to you please assist me in 'defriending' me."

When reached for additional clarification, Borello who says he is not a Facebook user said in a statement, "Out of abundance of caution...I asked all attorneys who may appear before me to 'defriend' me, to avoid any appearance of impropriety."   

Jacksonville attorney Wade Rolle said he used to have Facebook connections with judges, but not anymore.

"I think it could be a potential minefield," said Rolle  outside the Duval County Courthouse.

"It gives the perception that the judge might not be impartial because he is a friend, at least an internet friend," said Rolle who noted attorneys are understanding of what judges face.

The Florida Supreme Court could be asked to weigh in with an opinion to help clarify digital friendships in the courtroom.

 

First Coast News

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