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Monthly Archives: April 2015

Texas Judge Posts About Ongoing Case


Texas Judge Posts About Ongoing Case

A Texas judge was recently admonished for posting Facebook updates about a case on which she was presiding.  The ironic part of this story is that the judge gave the jurors instructions about improperly using social media.  No surprise here, the judge was removed from the case and told to obtain additional instruction on the proper use of social media.

Public Admonition and Order of Additional Education

Ars Technica: Texas Admonishes Judge for Posting Facebook Updates About Her Trial.

Comment: Elonis, True Threats, and the Ontology of Facebook

Alessandra Baniel-Stark


Comment: Elonis, True Threats, and the Ontology of Facebook


Elonis v. United States, argued before the Supreme Court in December 2014, raises the question of the applicable standard for determining whether speech is a true threat. Of particular interest in Elonis is how the Court will interpret appellant’s speech, which took place on Facebook and often took the form of quoted rap lyrics. This Comment argues that, despite changes the Internet has wrought in how speech is delivered, the appropriate standard for determining whether speech is a true threat is an objective one, as such a standard best addresses the concerns that gave rise to the true threats exception. This Comment further discusses some of the challenges courts have faced in properly conceiving of rap music and urges that a particular view of rap not be enshrined as a matter of Supreme Court jurisprudence.

Social Media Legal Ramifications

Naga Lakshmi Bhagavatula


Social Media Legal Ramifications


Online social networks have occupied rather important position in our personal and professional lives. Every action by the social media user has a legal ramification both to the user and the social media platform provider. This paper attempts to outline the intellectual property and privacy concerns, the key legal issues that arise in the social media context and the liability of the social medial networking sites in such cases.

Montana Becomes the Latest State to Limit Access to an Employee’s Social Media Account


JDSupra: Employers beware: Montana and Virginia are the newest states to limit employers’ access to personal social media accounts bringing the total number of states to 19

Trending Now: The Use of Social Media Websites in Public Shaming Punishments


Trending Now: The Use of Social Media Websites in Public Shaming Punishments 


This Note proposes that a social media shaming sanction might be an effective addition to the menu of public shaming punishments the judiciary already offers. Section II of this Note lays the foundation of shaming punishments in America, giving an overview of their history and development. Section III discusses the Ninth Circuit’s recent decision in Gementera, in which the court upheld a modern-day public shaming punishment, as well as other select cases that have upheld public shaming punishments that involve print media. Section IV outlines the current scholarly debate surrounding the use of public shaming punishments. Section V gives an overview of the presence of social media and Internet usage in today’s society, discusses a new trend among parents in which parents have begun to utilize social media to punish their children, and evaluates public shaming punishments via social media websites from the vantage point of various criminal law theories. Finally, Section VI advocates for the inclusion of online social mediapublic shaming punishments into the judiciary’s already expansive list of sentencing options, but with some limitations and guidelines.

Death and Live Feeds: Privacy Protection in Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets

Jeehyeon Jenny Lee


Death and Live Feeds: Privacy Protection in Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets


In 2014, the Uniform Law Commission approved the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA) for enactment by states. After an online user dies, the act gives her fiduciary broad access to her digital assets, such as email and social networking accounts, in the name of “asset neutrality” — the idea that digital assets should be treated like similar physical assets for the purposes of estate administration. The application of such a concept to our online lives and deaths has significant implications for user privacy and relationships between users and internet service providers. Over 20 states have already introduced bills based on the UFADAA.

This Note argues that an asset neutral approach to digital assets is fundamentally flawed, particularly with respect to social networking and social media content. Crucially, digital assets are often linked to live, real-time feeds from other users’ accounts, and thus provide access to others’ digital assets. The Note proposes several changes to the UFADAA. Most importantly, in order to protect user privacy, fiduciary access should be limited to only the particular decedent’s digital assets and internet service providers should be required to implement this restriction.

Is Social Media the New Era’s ‘Water Cooler’? #Notifyouareagovernmentemployee

Sabrina D. Niewialkouski


Is Social Media the New Era’s ‘Water Cooler’? #Notifyouareagovernmentemployee

Current Free Speech doctrine does not sufficiently protect government employees’ First Amendment rights. There are two major flaws in the test implemented by the Supreme Court in order to find whether the First Amendment protects an employee. First, the Garcetti test, where a government employee loses First Amendment protection if her speech is pursuant to her official duty, is inadequate, overbroad, and should be done away with completely – or at the least interpreted more narrowly. Secondly, the Pickering balancing test is less of a balancing and more of a prioritization of the government’s interests and should be interpreted to harmonize both the employee and the government’s interests.