Courtroom tweeter was in the wrong
The Kansas City Star
A special section of the unemployment line is reserved for those who ran afoul of the laws of social media. Sarah Peterson Herr took her place this week.
Herr most recently worked as a research attorney for a judge on the Kansas Court of Appeals. When former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline appeared before the state Supreme Court on charges of ethics violations last week, she fired off some snarky tweets.
Among other things, Herr called Kline “a douchebag” and predicted judges would suspend his legal license.
Kline is accused of misleading state employees and others to pursue investigations against Kansas abortion providers.
Herr was out of line and she should have known that. Court systems need to establish social media policies for employees.
In a statement, Herr apologized. “I didn’t stop to think that in addition to communicating with a few of my friends on Twitter I was also communicating with the public at large, which was not appropriate for someone who works for the court system,” she said.
In the Internet age, you are always communicating with the public at large. No tweet, or Facebook posting, or email is private. Just ask the recently departed director of the CIA.
Kline’s attorney has alleged that Herr’s tweets are evidence of a far-reaching bias in the Kansas court system. But that’s a stretch. Five state Supreme Court judges recused themselves from Kline’s hearing, citing conflicts. They were replaced by Kansas appeals judges, though not the judge Herr worked for.
Herr’s tweets are the ill-advised ramblings of one court employee who didn’t understand the reach of social media, and who paid a heavy price.