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High Court Disqualifies Judge For Facebook Friendship With Prosecutor

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Judges, take note: you cannot be Facebook friends with the prosecutors in your cases.

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday upheld an appellate court ruling saying that a judge’s Facebook friends can be used to disqualify the jurist from presiding over a trial, the News Service of Florida reported Friday.

A motion to disqualify the trial judge in his case was made by defendant Pierre Domville after the man discovered the judge was “friends” on Facebook with the prosecutor.

The trial judge ruled against Domville but the Fourth District Court of Appeals disagreed, saying the judge’s cyber connection could lead a reasonable person to conclude that a conflict could exist.

The appellate court then asked the Florida Supreme Court to weigh in.

In a 5-2 decision, the high court said it wouldn’t step in. “Judges do not have the unfettered social freedom of teenagers,” wrote appellate Judge Robert M. Gross in his request for high court review.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)

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