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Judges and Facebook

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Judges and Facebook


Some judges have found themselves in trouble when making less than professional comments about ongoing cases regardless of whether the case is before them.  For example, in Amended Public Reprimand and Order of Additional Education Honorable James Oakley, a Texas judge was admonished for the following post:

“Time for a tree and a rope”

The judge’s post was in response to a Facebook post by the San Antonio Police Department announcing the capture of an African-American murder suspect who is alleged to have killed a police officer.

The judge’s post appeared on the Facebook page of the San Antonio Police Department and the judge’s own Facebook page.  The State Judicial Commission, which received several complaints about the post, “determined that the judge cast reasonable doubt on his capacity to act impartially in the performance of his duties.”  In its condemnation of the judge’s post, the commission directed that he participate in 4 hours of instruction in racial sensitivity with a mentor.  To the judge’s credit, he took the post down once someone informed him how the post could be deemed inappropriate.

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