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Florida judges and lawyers: don't friend each other

There's been a bit of news down here lately regarding Facebook and how virtual relationships can impact the legal working world. 

Last week, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Yvonne Colodny had to disclose to lawyers she had unfriended Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones when the commissioner appeared before the judge for arraignment. (Spence-Jones has been accused of stealing around $50,000 in county grant money.) Colodny had apparently accepted a friend request from Spence-Jones a few weeks before - but assured lawyers she immediately unfriended the politician when she was arrested on Nov. 13.

Around the same time, the a Florida ethics advisory committee came to the same conclusion about lawyers and judges.

The New York Times story explains the recent opinion by the Florida "Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee" that basically says judges and lawyers can't be Facebook friends anymore.

The opinion doesn't have the weight of, say, an actual Supreme Court ruling, and many think it's gone too far.

My favorite line from the story: "In practice, of course, actual friends and Facebook friends can be as different as leather and pleather, and the committee did recognize that online friends were not the same as friends in the traditional sense."

I'd love to hear what local and other lawyers think about this one.

(Thanks to alert Poked reader - and colleague Scott Andron - who pointed out the NYT story.)


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