Florida Judges, Lawyers Can No Longer Be Facebook Friends


Florida’s judges can no longer be Facebook friends with lawyers, says the New York Times on a subject first reported this week by the Legal Profession Blog. The state's Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee decided it was time to set limits on judicial behavior online. When judges “friend” lawyers who may appear before them, the committee said, it creates the appearance of a conflict of interest, suggesting “lawyer 'friends' are in a special position to influence the judge.”

The committee did recognize that online friends were not the same as friends in the traditional sense. But a majority concluded that the possibility of the appearance of impropriety required that they recommend against friending. Stephen Gillers, a legal ethics expert at New York University, said Florida went too far, calling the ruling “hypersensitive.”

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