Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Should Judges Join Facebook?

In yesterday's Montreal Gazette, an article about whether Canadian judges should be on the popular social networking site Facebook:

"Amid escalating debate in the U.S. about judicial antics online, the Canadian Judicial Council has turned its attention to whether there should be some ground rules for judges who want to join Facebook and other social networking sites (...)"

"While there are no known cases of Canadian judges on Facebook, participation in the U.S. has reached a level that prompted the Florida judicial ethics committee to issue an edict last month that judges and lawyers should not be Facebook 'friends,' to avoid appearance of conflict in the event they end up in the same courtroom (...)"

"There also has been a handful of publicized cases of judges landing in hot water for their behaviour online, most recently the resignation this month of Georgia judge Ernest Woods following revelations of his Facebook conversations with a woman who was a defendant in a case before his court, which included a promise to lend her money."

"In New York, a judge accused of being a Facebook addict was transferred in October to another jurisdiction. News reports, quoting courthouse insiders, said he was constantly updating his status and even snapped and posted a photo of his crowded courtroom in session."

The Canadian Judicial Council has not yet drafted rules for Canadian judges but is monitoring the situation south of the border.

The Council is made up of 39 members and is chaired by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin.

Council membership consists of the chief justices, associate chief justices, and some senior judges from provincial and federal superior courts across the country.

The federal Parliament created the Council in 1971 to promote efficiency, uniformity, and accountability, and to improve the quality of judicial service in all superior courts of Canada.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:50 pm


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