Time to break out the judicial policy manual

A mistrial was declared in the case of a man accused of keeping his son locked in an 8-foot-by-6-foot particleboard box in Galveston. The problem?

Michelle Slaughter, the judge hearing the case, posted comments about the trial on a Facebook page.

Unfortunately, the mistake had consequences — the emotional wear and tear on the victim and jurors, the costs of a new trial.

Slaughter is not the only judge in Galveston County who has posted comments on social media.

Many private companies have adopted policies on social media to avoid these awkward problems.

Maybe it’s time for the judges to have a quick review of theirs.

(5) comments

PD Hyatt

Any Judge who posts on any social media about a trial should be forced to step down. I would have thought that most of the Judges would have more sense than to do this. I see that I was very wrong....


Well I would imagine the word "EVOLVED" ...will appear somewhere for justification. That word is appearing an awful lot these days. It is deeply entrenched in DC. I got a word for those in DC who love that word. The word I love is "TRANSFORMED" as in, "..BE YE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND...!" ( Romans 12:2 ).

George Croix

It's a bit unnerving to think that judges need a policy on common sense.
Maybe we could get some 5 year old's well versed in the negative consequences of tattle-taling to write it for them...[beam]
Or, is being 'liked' (I can't help it, that just cracks me up - do you get extra points for more 'likes'...) by some cyber entities better than being voted for by real voters?

Kevin Lang

I don't see any harm in posting the UPCOMING trials in the court. I do question whether people should be "friending" judges to get this information. Shouldn't people be getting that information from the Court's web site or Facebook page?

I do not think that the judges should be publishing ongoing accounts of trials in their courts. You may THINK you're just giving an objective play-by-play, but the reality is that it's almost impossible for us to always be purely objective. Plus, you have little control over who reads it, and how they perceive it. Leave the ongoing narratives to people specifically assigned that role--people that aren't perceived to be in the realm of the court's objectivity.

From what I understand, few companies have policies that forbid people from contributing to social media. However, most companies do have policies about how you represent yourself, and the kinds of things that you can divulge without violating confidentiality or damaging reputations.

Victor Krc

Looks like we ought to bring Lady Justice into the 21st century and place a gag over her mouth; a nice complement to the blindfold. I believe that judges, attorneys, and any other officers of the court should not be posting anything on social media, no matter how innocuous. We all know how politicians utterances are many times taken out of context and used against them by their opponents. The public perception of judicial integrity is too delicate and too important to be left vulnerable to attack because of social media postings.

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