Inherent Prejudice

In 1692 the City of St. Augustine turned 127 years old as a continuously occupied settlement of European and African origin.  Meanwhile in Massachusetts, fourteen women, five men, and two dogs were executed for witchcraft in what would become known as the Salem Witch Trials. Inherent prejudice of the legal system exists where you are going to have a trial, but you are going to hang the accused no matter what the outcome of the trial is.  If all you are doing is going through the motions for due process, then that is a problem. When the judicial system works like it is supposed to, everybody follows the same rules, there is a fair chance for both sides to be heard, and a decision is made.  I have had great trials and lost.  On the other hand, inherent prejudice can leave people singed…if not fully barbequed.   Read More

Lonely on the Bench – Social Media & the Judicial System

A ‘Friend’ online could be a foe in the courtroom.  Social media relationships may go for debate before the Florida Supreme Court with a case brought by a defendant whose judge was ‘Friends’ with the prosecutor online.  If the State Supreme Court accepts the case, they may determine who can and cannot be online ‘Friends’ with Florida’s judges. Judges are people too, but according to one judge in the 4th District Court of Appeal, judges do not enjoy the same personal freedom everybody else does, as they strive for the appearance of impartiality and away from impropriety. Attorneys and judges are not the only ones subject to the foul effects of FaceBook.  Say, for instance a personal injury defendant claims he cannot move due to injuries sustained, then posts photos on FaceBook of himself doing handsprings down the sidewalk.  Well…it could be the pain medication. It may be lonely at the top sitting on the bench, but social media posts could be peril to anyone in a court of law.  Professional guidelines for legal ethics online are still e-volving. Read More