eDiscovery Daily Blog

Judges and Social Media Don’t Mix Either – eDiscovery Trends

As a graduate of Baylor University, I thought I would have found a way to work last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Baylor’s own Robert Griffin III, into a blog post before this year’s Heisman winner, but this story involving Johnny Manziel is too good to pass up as an example of how pervasive social media has become in our daily lives and how it can impact the legal process.

A while back, we published a post called eDiscovery Trends: Jurors and Social Media Don’t Mix, where we reported on a case of juror misconduct when one of the jurors actually attempted to “Friend” one of the defendants on Facebook.  Apparently, judges aren’t immune to judicial slip ups on Facebook either.

Manziel has been regularly in the news lately, both for his stellar play on the football field (deservedly becoming the first freshman ever to win college football’s top individual award) and his activities off the field.  According to the Bleacher Report, he received a speeding ticket this past weekend while traveling through Ennis, Texas.  It happens.  And, if it were you or me, nobody would give it a second thought (or know about it unless we told them).  However, Judge Lee Johnson, the judge who saw the ticket come in, decided to post on his Facebook page about it, as follows:

“Too funny. So it seems a certain unnamed (very) recent Heisman Trophy winner from a certain unnamed ‘college’ down south of here got a gift from the Ennis P.D. while he was speeding on the 287 bypass yesterday. It appears that even though the OU defense couldn’t stop him, the City of Ennis P.D. is a different story altogether. Time to grow up/slow down young ‘un. You got your whole life/career ahead of you. Gig Em indeed.”

He then followed up with a correction, saying: “I mean to say ‘allegedly speeding,’ my bad.”

Now, according to a report by Yahoo! Sports, Ennis City Manager Steve Howerton has since apologized for the comments, calling them “insensitive and inappropriate,” and the city has reprimanded Johnson in the wake of his post.  The report also notes that “Howerton said Johnson has worked in public service for 25 years and had an unblemished record. Howerton said Johnson attempted to apologize to Manziel and that the incident is still under investigation.”

It’s a minor case involving a minor infraction, but it still illustrates how anybody can get carried with social media and impact the legal system or their business, as All Pro Houston Texans running back Arian Foster found out over a year ago.  Even judges have to learn to keep in mind that all important adage: think before you hit send.

So, what do you think?  Have you seen other examples of social media impacting the legal process?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.