Friday, September 14, 2012

How not to practice law: post photos of your client's undies on Facebook and make fun of your client and his family in the process

Why is it that so many people are so stupid about how they use Facebook?  What is it about Facebook that makes some people do stupid things?  Here is a story about a lawyer who caused a mistrial, lost a client and got fired all for posting a photo on Facebook.  Here is the first paragraph of the story on the Miami Herald: 
A Miami judge declared a mistrial in a murder case Wednesday after a defense lawyer posted a photo of her client’s leopard-print underwear on Facebook.  The defendant [was] accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death in Hialeah in 2010. [The defendant's] family brought him a bag of fresh clothes to wear during trial. When Miami-Dade corrections officers lifted up the pieces for a routine inspection, [the defendant's] public defender . . .  snapped a photo of [her client’s] briefs with her cellphone, witnesses said. While on a break, the 31-year-old lawyer posted the photo on her personal Facebook page with a caption suggesting the client’s family believed the underwear was “proper attire for trial.”
You can read the full story here and more on the story in the ABA  The attorney was fired immediately after the court found out about the photo.  Her supervisor, Public Defender Carlos Martinez, is quoted in the Miami Herald story explaining the decision as follows:  "Clients are entitled to lawyers’ loyalty and respect. When a lawyer broadcasts disparaging and humiliating words and pictures, it undermines the basic client relationship and it gives the appearance that he is not receiving a fair trial.”  I couldn't agree more.
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