My answer tot his question became less clear when I heard the story of a Judge caught sending improper IMs to his wife during court. Is this wrong? Well at first glance, no. He’s chatting with his wife which in this day and age is to be commended in and of itself. However, as you continue to think through the issue a bigger problem presents itself. When the judge presiding over your case is so distracted by sexual messages to his wife, are you being afford a fair trial? This is where my opinion changes and I decided to explore details of this story.
A New Mexico judge, Eugenio Mathis of Las Vegas, N.M., admitted that he had engaged in “excessive and improper” instant messaging with his wife, but denied that any communications included intimations of courthouse sex, the Albuquerque Journal reports. The Santa Fe New Mexican and the Associated Press also have stories on Mathis’ subsequent resignation.
According to the Albuquerque Journal:
A thick packet of chat logs, presumably between Mathis and his wife, were filed at the Supreme Court as part of the Judicial Standards Commission’s petition to discipline Mathis.
In the messages, the chatters talk about dinner plans, flirt, ask each other how their day is going, discuss paying bills and gossip about their co-workers at court.
The log shows someone making a comment about making “hanky panky” while someone tests the court’s alarm system.
“Don’t come knocking if the jury room is rockin’,” one message reads.
It can be difficult to determine from the logs who is saying what, but one such interaction appears to show the chatters joking about denying a juror’s request to be excused to attend a funeral.
The problem with this, according to the Supreme Court filings by the Judicial Standards Commission, is that these conversations take place over the state court’s instant messaging service in violation of a computer and Internet use policy.
In the motion, Mathis also admitted to violating the code of conduct by making “judicial statements” about pending cases, referring to a petitioner in a name change case as “weird” and failing to cooperate with other judges “in the proper and orderly administration of court business.”
One of these comments included referring to parties in a domestic violence hearing as acting crazy.
What do you think? Should judges be able to use social media??