Legal Tidbits: Tweeting From Court?




The Broward County Courthouse has entered the Twitter age.

Circuit Judge Matthew Destry has been tweeting pictures from his courtroom. See the site here.


Judge Matt Destry (Photo: Jaablog)


The tweeting has Public Defender Howard “Help Me Howard” Finkelstein upset, according to the Sun-Sentinel’s courthouse wiz Rafael Olmeda.

This is a very interesting modern-day question:

Should a judge be posting pictures of the participants in his courtroom on the Internet? Don’t the lawyers feel pressure when the judge presiding over their case asks them to pose?

It will be interesting to see Judicial Qualifications Commission or The Florida Bar’s take on tweeting from court.  I’m sure the JQC or Bar will deal with this at some time in the future here or at another courthouse.

My take:

There should be some way for judges along with prosecutors and defense attorneys have a Twitter presence.

I’d love to see both Finkelstein and State Attorney Mike Satz’s office have Twitter accounts. It would be another way to inform the public what goes on in the courthouse.

But judges tweeting from their courtroom ….????

You decide.

While you are thinking about it,  let’s applaud Destry for raising the question and attempting to do something new.




Bill  “Mr. Jaablog” Gilen is back.

After a long hiatus and Bar complaints about the content of his courthouse blog, Gilen took to the keyboard again this week to relaunch his well-followed site.

Gilen writes about the Bar complaints:

“If we’ve done anything wrong,  we’ll take the rap.  No big deal.  But the Bar shouldn’t be allowed to change the rules in the middle of the game.  Sending letters which fail to specify any misconduct, a single violated rule, or even a specific offensive phrase or photograph is just plain old chicken shit,” is part of what he posted.

Read the rest of what he has to say about the Bar complaint here.


15 Responses to “Legal Tidbits: Tweeting From Court?”

  1. Ron Gunzburger says:

    Seeing the nature of Judge Destry’s tweets, they seem professional and a creative use of social media to inform the public and bar of what is happening in his courtroom.

    Keep in mind that even the Florida Supreme Court uses Twitter to announce their rulings:

  2. racklick says:

    Does Sheriff Israel allow his paid employees to spend their time blogging. Gunzburger cant possibly be focused on the mamoth job of overseeing the legal affiars of the sherriffs office ie he spends so much time reading and responding to blogs. This guy has no shame.

  3. sarah says:

    NO! Judges shouldn’t be tweeting during the proceedings! First of all they should be paying attention to the proceedings and not as concerned to “inform” the public via tweets. I see this turning into an issue. But, just my humble opinion. I am not a Judge or someone that make decisions about peoples lives.

  4. Keep Out Howard says:

    Finkelstein sticks his nose in again about something that has nothing to do with him.

  5. steve s says:

    The Florida supreme court, whose decisions are important questions of law and are binding on the rest of the state, has a public interest in tweeting the proceedings.
    There is very little public interest in every action of this circuit court judge, whose decisions are not binding on any other courtroom, and could be overturned on appeal, and the defendants who are being tweeted about are supposed to be presumed innocent. Unlike those criminal defendants whose cases reach the supreme court, and have already been convicted of a crime.

  6. Ha Ha Ha says:

    He’s just tweeting about his courtroom schedule and including some obviously posed-for pictures of the attorneys. It’s a public courtroom anyway, and none of this information has any adverse effect on either side of the case. Also, I see no reason to conclude that the judge is being distracted from the cases. The posed photos were obviously taken during a recess or at some similar time, not during court proceedings.

    Maybe Finkelstein does have good reasons to be upset… if so, he should clearly say what those reasons are.

  7. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Finkelstein doesn’t want any pictures showing how short he is or that he has a ponytail.

  8. Duke says:

    It’s a court of law, not a dressing room. He’s not a celebrity with a fan club. It’s unprofessional.Whats next? Surgeons tweeting during operations? Pilots tweeting from the air? Have some professional decorum.Tweet from home about your personal life. Keep the litigants out of it.


    I would assume that there has been tweeting from cockpits. I don’t know about operating rooms, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

  9. Kevin says:

    I’m just wondering how ANYBODY in the legal profession can keep ANY thought to fewer than 140 characters…….



    Best comment yet!!!!

  10. Kevin says:

    Thank you. I’ll be here all week. Make sure to generously tip the wait-staff and be sure to try the veal.


    Seriously, as a political science instructor at the University level for 20 years, I have taught hundreds and hundreds of people who went on to become lawyers. Almost without fail, they are the ones who write the wordiest papers. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.



    I have a friend who got a masters from a local state university.

    She turned a paper in and it was rejected. The professor told her that her paper fell far short of the work required by a study for a masters degree.

    She asked why? What needed to be changed?

    The professor stumbled around for awhile, finally saying, “It needs more words.”

    She added more needless words and got an “A”. She now has a masters.

  11. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Comment #7 was NOT written by me.

    @7 – get your own screen name! That one is taken.

    @7 – your comment also makes no sense. Finkelstein is an avid public speaker who gives speeches to many groups, at least one speech per month. Everyone already knows exactly what Finklestein looks like in person.

  12. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @8 – The judge is not tweeting about his personal life at all. He tweets his courtroom schedule, current events affecting the courthouse, and posed photos of some of the lawyers appearing in his current cases. It’s all about work, nothing personal is involved. Buddy gave us the link to those tweets – click on over and see for yourself.

  13. Ha Ha Ha says:

    CNN, February 2009 – “Surgeons send ‘tweets’ from operating room”


    Thanks for this. I knew it was bound to happen.

  14. Duke says:

    A very good English professor once told me that anything you can say in 20 words can be said in 10 words.. if you know how to choose your words.

  15. Duke says:

    Why would anyone have a problem with the pilot of the plane they’re flying on doing a little tweeting from the cockpit or the surgeon that’s operating on them doing a little tweeting from the operating room? The fact that we have judges tweeting from the courtroom, surgeons tweeting from the operating room and pilots tweeting from the cockpit is so indicative of what’s wrong with twitter and where we are going as a society. I can’t wait for Kim Kardashian to let us know via twitter the minute Kanye’s baby pops out of her. But in the meantime, we got judges, surgeons, and pilots we can follow along with.