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Judges' Social Media Use Increasing, Mostly on Facebook: Survey

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on August 06, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Social media isn't just for the kids anymore since a new survey shows that judges are getting in on the action.

The CCPIO New Media and Courts Survey has been around for three years now so the 2012 survey results reveal changes over time. More judges are responding to the survey and of those who do, more say they use social media both for personal and professional reasons.

The survey looked at a lot of issues surrounding social media use, including whether these new technologies compromise ethical requirements.

Most judges agreed that using social media sites in both their personal and professional lives doesn't necessarily compromise the professional code of conduct.

There was also general agreement that courts can use the websites without an ethical violation.

In terms of practical application, few had seen judges admonish people for improper use of social media. But more jurists implemented routine jury instructions about social media in 2012 than they did in 2010.

When you break it down by website, it's clear that most judges spend their social media time on Facebook. Slightly less than half use LinkedIn.

Outside of profile-making sites, the majority spent time on Twitter and YouTube.

The study also compared judicial social media use with election methods.

For judges that stood for political election, 60.3% used social media sites. Only 29% of judges that stood for retention bids used the websites and less 5% of those who don't stand for any election were involved in social media.

Those numbers raise some interesting questions of whether judges use social media sites to campaign for judicial office. Unfortunately the study did not breakdown whether that use was for personal or professional reasons.

The yearly comparison shows that judges and courts are using social media sites more as time goes on, both in the office and at home. So be prepared for the day when your local superior court asks you to 'like' them on Facebook.

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