Tag Archives: FaceBook

Facebook, Friends and Your Judge…

In Madison, Wisconsin a Judge accepting a litigant’s friend request was enough to warrant a new trial by a different Judge.

In 2016, a mother sought sole custody and child support in a modification action against the father. After a two-day evidentiary trial, the Judge gave the parties 10 days to submit proposals on how the Court should rule. After these submissions, but prior to the Court ruling the Judge accepted the mother’s Facebook friend request. This was unknown to the father.

While awaiting a decision, the mother liked 18 of the Judge’s “Facebook posts and commented on two of them.” However, the Judge did not like or comment on any of the mother’s posts, though he did not deny reading them.

In July, the Judge ruled in favor of the mother. That same day, the guardian ad litem for the child learned that the mother had posted on Facebook that “the Honorable Judge granted everything we requested” and then discovered the mother and Judge were Facebook friends. 

The father filed a motion to reconsider, arguing the Facebook frienship created the appearance of impropriety. The Court ruled that he’d made up phis mind prior to the request and denied the father’s motion.

The Wisconsin Appellate Court found that these circumstances clearly created the appearance of impropriety.

The mother’s friend request, and the Judge’s acceptance just prior to a decision “conveys the impression that [the mother] was in a special position to influence [the] Judge’s ultimate decision — a position not available to individuals that he had not ‘friended,’ such as [the father].

The appellate court did state that the “decision does not reach the merits of… [the] ultimate decision on [the mother’s] motion, and we recognize the parties will be required to relitigate their custody and physical placement issues.”

Source: https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/local/wisconsin/2019/02/20/judge-accepted-facebook-friend-request-woman-pending-matter/2925778002/

Matthew Thompson is a Family Law attorney and encourages you NOT to be Facebook friends with your Judge.

Don’t Put Private Info on FaceBook

Your information is not safe, protected or private.

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Regardless of your settings on FaceBook, someone has access to it. I’ve posted numerous times about what NOT to put on FaceBook and warned against oversharing. Now, it turns out that much of our data has been mined, sold and then used to trick us into believing things we saw on FaceBook. It allowed Russians to infiltrate the American Dream, somehow. It likely is still occurring.

There’s even a trend of deleting FaceBook going around, or at least threats of deleting it. However, a lesser position is to just to continue posting pics of your dinners, dog and artistic black and white shots of inanimate objects. Doing this will not allow the Russians to gain the upper hand.

Matthew Thompson is a Family Law attorney in Mississippi and reminds you, Blizok lokotok, da ne ukusish!

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Don’t Put this on FaceBook…

FaceBook can be used for comparing yourself to others and investigating persons you just met. It can also be used to brag on yourself, your child’s latest, cutest thing and driving up “hits” on your blog. However, it is NOT to air your DIVORCE DRAMA!

“81 percent of divorce attorneys surveyed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers said they’d seen an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence in the five years prior. The attorneys said Facebook was the number one source for finding online evidence, with 66 percent admitting they’d found evidence by combing the site.”

What are some of the things NOT to post on FaceBook?

  • Don’t put the sordid details of your case.
  • Don’t take cheap shots at the other’s parenting ability.
  • Don’t post inappropriate pictures of yourself or others.
  • Don’t call out the Judge or Court system on your page.
  • Don’t put out false information to garner sympathy.

Matthew Thompson is a Family Law Attorney in Mississippi and recommends you not post your business on FaceBook.

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