Texas Commission On Judicial Conduct Sanctions Judge For Facebook Comments

Law.com reports….

Using Facebook to congratulate lawyers who won jury verdicts in her courtroom has brought a public sanction for a San Antonio judge.

But Bexar County Court-at-Law No. 13 Judge Rosie Speedlin Gonzalez on Wednesday plans to file notices of appeal for the sanction, said her lawyer, Deanna Whitley.

The Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct gave a public admonition and order of additional education to Speedlin Gonzalez for eight posts she published on her official judicial Facebook page.

But the judge’s attorney says the commission should have handled the Facebook posts differently. She said it’s not very clear what’s permitted in judges’ social media posts, and the commission should have instead offered education to Speedlin Gonzalez.

Jacqueline Habersham, executive director of the commission, declined to comment.

Speedlin Gonzalez’s eight posts, which appeared between August and October 2019, congratulated 12 attorneys on winning jury verdicts and lauded them for their results and professional backgrounds, the public admonition said. The judge stopped publishing those types of Facebook posts once she received the commission’s inquiry in the matter.

But a rule in the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct prohibits judges from lending the prestige of their judicial office to advance their own or others’ private interests. The commission determined that Speedlin Gonzalez had willfully and persistently violated that judicial canon when she posted about the lawyers and jury verdicts.

Source:  https://www.law.com/texaslawyer/2020/04/14/san-antonio-judge-disciplined-for-facebook-posts-that-congratulated-lawyers/