Judges and lawyers ask ‘Why can’t we be friends’ on Facebook?

Posted on December 14, 2009

 

Many companies have a policy prohibiting staff members from using Facebook in office hours, to prevent the number of man hours lost to employee’s witling away their time online. However, no company has yet revealed plans to dictate who you and cannot be Facebook friends with… until now.

The Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee in Florida has deemed that judges and lawyers cannot be Facebook friends as it would potentially create a conflict of interests. According to the Associated Press, one judge has warned her Facebook friends that she may have to unfriend them, and that it’s nothing personal.

This doesn’t just extend to Facebook either, as any sort of online social networking website is included in the judge/lawyer banning – the report stated:

Although Facebook has been used as an example in this opinion, the holding of the opinion would apply to any social networking site which requires the member of the site to approve the listing of a ‘friend’ or contact on the member’s site.

Judge Thomas McGrady is in agreement with the conclusion of the committee. McGrady however isn’t on Facebook, so he probably won’t be affected by this either way. He said:

We as judges can still be good judges and still have friends. Part of our job is to not let that friendship interfere in any way with our decisions. But others in the public who see judges listing a lawyer as a friend on facebook, they may think that because they are your friend, they will be treated differently.

If somebody’s my friend, I’ll call them on the phone.

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