Even attorneys are not immune to the dangers of Facebook.  We have all heard about the teachers and other professionals who have been fired, suspended, and generally subjected to public scrutiny for posting "inappropriate" photos on their private Facebook accounts.  We have repeatedly warned you and our clients to purge your Facebook pages and keep it clean.  Now, the Miami Herald reports that a Facebook posting by an attorney has made it to the limelight, caused a mistrial, and cost the attorney her job (and a large chuck of her credibility).

Even attorneys are not immune to the dangers of Facebook.  We have all heard about the teachers and other professionals who have been fired, suspended, and generally subjected to public scrutiny for posting "inappropriate" photos or comments on their private Facebook accounts.  We have repeatedly warned you and our clients to purge your Facebook pages and keep it clean.  Now, a Facebook posting by an attorney has made it to the limelight, caused a mistrial, cost the attorney her job, and a large chunk of her credibility.

Apparently, a Miami-Dade public defender in the midst of a murder case decided it was a good idea to post a picture of the leopard print underwear the defendant's family brought for him to wear to court during his trial.  Yes, to some this would be really a funny moment in the history of lawyering and we have all shared our funny "this one time" stories. But timing is everything.  This attorney decided to post this to Facebook during lunch on the day of trial.

No matter how heavily guarded our accounts we are not anonymous on Facebook.  Since she posted this while she was involved in the trial of what is no doubt a case that is discussed on the news, there is little doubt that all 500 or more of her "friends" were now privy to the defendant's most intimate clothing choices.  I am sure the identity of her client was no secret.  Her behavior shows that she did not take him seriously or respect him as a client.  She did not even respect his privacy.

No matter our personal beliefs or standards, our job is to advocate on behalf of our clients. We cannot be known to outwardly judge our clients or we lose credibility and, worse, we lose our client's belief that we are on their side. 

So take this as just one more example of all the reasons to keep your Facebook clean so your dirty underwear doesn’t end up all over the courtroom (and news!). Facebook profiles and posts often make appearances in court cases, particularly in family cases.  Remember, Court proceedings and case files are, for the most part, public record.

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AuthorAdriana Torriente