BREAKING NEWS! Florida Supreme Court Says “NO” to Opining on Whether Judges and Attorneys can be Facebook Friends

BREAKING NEWS! Florida Supreme Court Says “NO” to Opining on Whether Judges and Attorneys can be Facebook Friends

The Florida Supreme Court announced Thursday that it would not settle the dispute over whether judges can be Facebook friends with attorneys that may appear before them. The Fourth District Court of Appeal (Fourth DCA) requested that the Florida Supreme Court rule on the certified question of whether a presiding judge in a criminal case could be ordered to recuse himself when  he is Facebook friends with the prosecutor assigned to a case before him. The Fourth DCA certified the question after it quashed a trial court’s order denying disqualification of a Broward County Circuit Court Judge based on his Facebook friendship with the prosecutor in that case. The Fourth DCA ruled last year that judges and attorneys should not be friends on Facebook because of the appearance of impropriety and bias. Those on both sides of the dispute as to the propriety of allowing Facebook friendships between judges and attorneys who may appear before them, seem to agree that this issue is of “great public importance.”  The Florida JEAC has previously advised that judges should not be Facebook friends (in 2009 and 2010) or have LinkedIn connections to attorneys who may appear before them. However, without a definitive Florida Supreme Court ruling, the Florida Facebook debate will, no doubt, continue especially in light of some of the other states’ varying opinions.

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