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Judge Removed from Case for Use of Facebook
Judges were warned in February of 2013 by the American Bar Association to be careful when using social media websites. The ABA did not care if judges used the sites to stay in touch with the world, but did warn them against ‘liking,’ ‘friending,’ or ‘following’ someone, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Now, a case out of Florida has arisen involving this exact topic. A circuit court judge presided over divorce proceedings, but before entering the final ruling, the judge sent a ‘friend’ request to the wife on Facebook. The judge is Linda D. Schoonover.
Court documents state that the woman did not accept the request. The lawyer for the woman claims that the judge retaliated against her for not accepting the request. The complaint says that the judge gave the wife “most of the marital debt” and giving the husband “a disproportionately excessive alimony award.”
The judge was removed from the case by an appellate court last week. The case was then assigned to a different judge. The appellate court ruled that the wife had a “well-founded fear of not receiving a fair and impartial trial.”
The ruling was issued by the appeals court on January 24 and it stated that the request on Facebook “placed the litigant between the proverbial rock and a hard place: either engage in improper ex parte communications with the judge presiding over the case or risk offending the judge by not accepting the ‘friend’ request.”Judge Removed from Case for Use of Facebook by Jim Vassallo