Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Transfer of NY Judge May Have Been Due to His Facebook Activity

Thanks to Bill H. in New York for giving me a heads up on this story about a Staten Island criminal court judge who is being transferred to a court in Manhattan.  According to online speculation, it seems the judge's transfer may have something to do with his time on Facebook, both on and off the bench. 

No official comment from the Office of Court Administration spokesperson or from the judge on the reason for his transfer, but a number of news sources report that inside sources claim Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino Jr.'s use of the social networking site Facebook contributed to his transfer.  According to Staten Island Real-Time News (on silive.com), the judge had a public Facebook profile for a time (it's now set to "private"), which sometimes included details about his personal life, as well as his work location and schedule.  He reportedly updated his Facebook status constantly -- even from the bench on at least one occasion; he also posted a photo of his crowded courtroom on his profile page. 

As I discussed in an October post about a judge who was disciplined for "friending" a lawyer, judges and attorneys may need to be particularly cautious about their online activities.  (Lawyers would also be wise to stay on top of their clients' use of social media sites.)

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