Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

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The Ethics of Trial by Facebook.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | May 8, 2012

No. 831

The CEB Blog (California Education of the Bar) reports that George Zimmerman’s defense team has established a Website, Facebook page and Twitter Account to address what they see as public misconceptions and present their case in the Court of Public Opinion.  The website is soliciting contributions for the Defense Fund.

The CEB Blog post explores the lawyer’s ethical issues, at least in California, quite thoroughly.  It turns out that there is quite a lot that can be said about a case without violating lawyer’s ethics, at least in California. If you are a lawyer thinking about doing the same thing, it is mandatory reading.

Is trial by social media a trend?  Perhaps, but only in high profile cases where news media attention is already focused to the detriment of the defendant, especially the celebrity defendant.  It appears that the overwhelming majority of lawyers were appalled by the publicity campaign conducted by the Jerry Sandusky defense team.  I think it is fair to say that most lawyers think that pretrial commentary of that kind is not beneficial to their client. They are not comfortable with these tactics.

By the way, if you want to read the Zimmerman defense Facebook page, you are going to have to find it and friend it yourself.  Sorry, I don’t do that.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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