Continuing our “Courts Meet the 2.0 World” series (see here and here), a North Carolina Judge was recently publicly reprimanded by the state’s Judicial Standards Commission for “friending” defense counsel in a case before him and then (obliquely) discussing the case via posts on Facebook. The Commission correctly noted that these posts were ex-parte communications that were prohibited by the Judicial Code of Conduct. Here is an excerpt from the Commission’s finding of facts in this child custody case:
On or about the evening of September 10, 2008, Judge Terry checked Schieck’s “Facebook” account and saw where Schieck had posted “how do I prove a negative”. Judge Terry posted on his “Facebook” account, he had “two good parents to choose from” and “Terry feels that he will be back in court” referring to the case not being settled. Schieck then posted on his “Facebook” account, “I have a wise Judge”.
…On or about September 11, 2008, Judge Terry wrote on his “Facebook” account, “he was in his last day of trial”. Schieck then wrote “I hope I’m in my last day of trial.” Judge Terry responded stating “you are in your last day of trial”.