Ohio judges may have a personal Facebook profile, so says the disciplinary board of the Ohio Supreme Court in an advisory opinion issued December 8, 2010. Provided, of course, that the judge keep in mind certain ethical considerations. For example, a Facebook-friendly judge should be particularly cautious about how much online (public) interaction she has with a lawyer who appears before her. As reported by the Associated Press, judges also should be guarded when it comes to how much personal information they disclose online.
In addition to a lengthy opinion, the Board also issued guidelines for judges’ use, in which it addressed the following areas of concern:
- Judges should never comment online about a case under consideration or before them;
- Judges also are prohibited from research information about a case, a witness, or a party via a social-networking site; and
- Judges are reminded that they must “maintain dignity in every comment, photograph, or other information” that they share online.
The Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline’s opinion cautions that, to avoid running afoul of the judicial code of ethics, participation in social networking “will require a judge’s constant vigil.”
See also, Ethical Implications of Friendly Judges