Judges beware: the (ongoing) risks of a social media presence

At Above the Law, Nicole Black has an interesting piece on “judicial missteps” associated with social media use.  Judges have faced recent disciplinary actions for posting on Facebook about active cases, attorneys appearing before them, or other judicial candidates. Black reminds us:

But the convenience of the immediacy and reach of social media is often tempered by its permanency. After all, a single tweet or Facebook post can have unintended and long-lasting effects. Unfortunately, that’s something people often forget in the heat of the moment, resulting in regrettable and irreversible mistakes.

That’s good advice for everyone.  A little discretion on the internet goes a long way.

Two North Carolina programs aim to ease court congestion

Two very different programs with the same goal of keeping people out of court were announced in North Carolina this week.

Durham County has one of the state’s highest levels of eviction filings, with approximately 900 cases filed each month.  Eviction cases are stressful for tenants and costly for landlords. A new program co-sponsored by Legal Aid of North Carolina, Duke University’s Civil Justice Clinic, and the Durham County Department of Social Services is aiming to reduce eviction filings by guiding affected tenants to legal and financial assistance programs.  The hope is that tenants will be able to remain in their homes, landlords will be paid the rent owed, and the courts will not be clogged with cases that might well be amenable to extrajudicial resolution.

In Buncombe County, local prosecutors have developed their own program to reduce the need for drivers to come to court to challenge or pay speeding tickets.  Drivers caught going 15 miles or less over the speed limit would have the option of paying their fine or even negotiating for reduced points online.  The district attorney behind the program estimated that 2000 people per day crowd the courthouse to appear before a magistrate for speeding fines.

 

Technology displaces courthouse couriers

It is no particular surprise that the growth of electronic filing in state and federal courts would lead to a diminution in the need for physical couriers. But this article offers some nice color into how the system has changed, and how remaining courier services stay on their feet (or bikes, as the case may be).