Should judges disclose Facebook friends? ‘Context is significant,’ ABA ethics opinion says – ABA Journal

Judges who participate in social networking sites must heed the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct, cautions Formal Opinion 462 (PDF). That means the judges should avoid contacts that would undermine their independence, integrity, or impartiality, or that would create an appearance of impropriety.

The Feb. 21 opinion by the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility acknowledges that “judicious use” of electronic social media–referred to as “ESM”–can be a valuable tool for public outreach. “When used with proper care, judges’ use of ESM does not necessarily compromise their duties under the Model Code any more than use of traditional and less public forms of social connection such as U.S. Mail, telephone, email or texting,” according to the opinion

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