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May 01 2012

A Recipe for Trouble

Published by at 11:04 am under News

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that some candidates for the 2013 judicial elections in Allegheny County have announced their candidacies on Facebook. Well, of course they have. Facebook is free, easy to use, and a great way to get a message

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out.  But, at least one candidate — an assistant district attorney — has taken down his page in light of questions about the propriety of using Facebook at this early stage.

The Canons of Judicial Conduct limit when judicial campaigns can raise money, but there are not clear rules about “announcing one’s candidacy.”  As PMC’s Shira Goodman explained, however, “People would see this person is running for judge and the person might say, ‘Maybe I should give them money,’ ” Goodman said.  In short, beginning a campaign this early and this way can have unintended consequences.

But the real problem is not Facebook; it’s that we choose judges through a system that makes them campaign and raise funds.  Electing judges is the real recipe for trouble.

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