Social media rears its ugly head again.
Last week, Philadelphia judge Charles Hayden dismissed evidence in state Rep. Cherelle Parker’s DUI case that included results from a Breathalyzer test that measured Parker’s blood alcohol content at .16.
Hayden and Parker are friends on Facebook.
Because social media is a relatively new concept, there aren’t any rules that prohibit this type of relationship.
“The rules are quite general that the judge should avoid situations where his impartiality might reasonably be questioned,” said Eleanor Myers, associate professor of law at Temple University. “It’s not only what’s in your mind, but what people will perceive.”
People have a desire to interact especially with social media’s ever-growing presence and necessity. However, the question is “will this person be able to effectively do their job without bias,” which is at the heart of the judicial conduct.
“Honestly, judges have families, friends and lots of ties in the community so you can’t tell a judge they can’t be a human being,” said Myers. “The question is what you do with those relationships.”
By sharing a cyber friendship with Parker, regardless of how true it may be, questions Hayden’s objectivity.
Myers said that most people will base Hayden’s and Parker’s relationship on their own experiences with Facebook. She explained that some people will “friend” anyone whereas others will only “friend” people they know.
Parker, the former aid to city councilwoman Marion Tasco, was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence on May 5. Police say she was driving the wrong way along the 5800 block of Baynton St., a one way street in Germantown.