Florida’s Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee declared that judges and lawyers in the state should no longer be Facebook friends, as first reported by Legal Profession Blog, according to The New York Times.
The committee, which has a strictly advisory role, said being friends on Facebook can be seen as a conflict of interest, adding that it “reasonably conveys to others the impression that these lawyer ‘friends’ are in a special position to influence the judge.”
New York University legal ethics expert Stephen Gillers believes the committee’s ruling was too drastic, telling the Times:
In my view, they are being hypersensitive. (Judges do not) drop out of society when they become judges. The people who were their friends before they went on the bench remained their friends, and many of them were lawyers.
Gillers added that lawyers can disqualify judges in cases where a truly close friendship exists.