Facebook 'friendship' between judge and defendant raises questions

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(CBS/KYW) PHILADELPHIA - In Philadelphia, the Facebook "friendship" between a municipal court judge and a defendant is raising concerns.

Last week, Municipal Court Judge Charles Hayden dismissed some key evidence in a drunk driving case against state house member Cherelle Parker, reports CBS station KYW. But the state attorney general is mulling an appeal amid questions over the  Facebook "friendship" between Hayden and Parker.

"A Facebook friendship could have the appearance of impropriety, even if there's nothing untoward going on or even if people barely know each other," said Michael Risch, associate professor of law at Villanova University School of Law.

In a statement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, an attorney for Parker said the assumption that Parker and Judge Hayden are genuine friends because they appear as such on Facebook is "ludicrous."

Risch says Twitter carries its own risks for judges who want to broadcast more than just what is for dinner. When it comes to judicial conduct, he expects social media rules soon to be put in black and white, KYW reports.