First, I thought I would start our Monday blog with some good Thanksgiving advice above! Next is the story of a Judge who got carried away on his Facebook account…during trial!
A Minnesota Judicial Board has reprimanded (PDF) Judge Edward Bearse because of his in-trial Facebook posts. The reasoning? The board says that his posts and conduct cast doubt on his impartiality, and violated rules that require judges to be “dignified and courteous with litigants” and to also refrain from putting personal interests above the duties of a Judge. At least one mistrial resulted from the judge’s posts. (Associated Press story)
As a sitting judge in a sex trafficking case, Judge Bearse posted the following during the trial, ” “I just love doing the stress of jury trials,” the judge posted. “In a Felony trial, now State is prosecuting pimp. Cases are always difficult because the women (as in this case also) will not cooperate. We will see what the 12 citizens in the jury box will do.” (You can almost imagine the Judge talking in a golf announcer voice)
On that case, the jury found the defendant guilty, two days after the Judge’s post. The county attorney’s office then learned about Bearse’s post and disclosed it to the defense attorney. The defense moved to set aside the guilty verdict and order a new trial. Another judge was called in to hear the motion and he granted it. He vacated the original guilty verdict and ordered a new trial.
Based on the motion and ruling of the subsequent judge, the board reprimanded the judge. However, it found that Judge Bearse was remorseful and hadn’t been familiar with privacy settings on the social media site. The Judge said he thought that his Facebook posts were available only to his 80 friends, family and church members.
Not so much privacy! In fact, they were available to all the public, The judge later admitted that he should not have shared his posts from the bench, even within his expected limited Facebook group. The danger of too much technology!
And for more Thanksgiving pic o’s: