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Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts

Abstract

In recent advisory opinions, courts and ethics committees have considered whether and to what extent judges may use social networking sites such as Facebook without violating the applicable code of judicial conduct. While the committees agree that judges may generally use social networking sites, they disagree as to whether judges may use those sites to connect with lawyers who have appeared or may appear in a proceeding before them. Four states—California, Florida, Massachusetts, and Oklahoma—forbid judges frombecoming online “friends” with attorneys who may appear before them in court, while four states—Ohio, Kentucky, New York, and South Carolina—allow it, albeit with caution. This Article examines the recent trend in advisory opinions governing the use of social media by members of the judiciary and provides practical advice for judges to conform to the code of judicial conduct.

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