Just Don’t Do It

/ 17.Oct, 2014
We have said it again, and again, and again, but apparently even a (the) justice(s) on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court do not understand.  TREAT EVERYTHING YOU PUT ON THE INTERNET AS IF IT COULD BE BLOWN UP AT A TRIAL.  The Harrisburg Porn Scandal has caused Justice McCaffery to offer an apology (and escalated the personal war between Justice McCaffery and Chief Justice Castille who has again called for Justice McCaffery to be suspended or referred to the Judicial Conduct Board).  It is reported Justice McCaffery received and sent over 230 offensive emails between 2008 and 2012.  Justice McCaffery is certainly not alone among a certain demographic of lawyers who believe(d) sending this type of salacious material to colleagues is acceptable.  However, even a moment of consideration would lead to the conclusion that others might find the material offensive, and the sagacious decision would be not to forward it to others if received.  Pa Supreme Court This morning’s news includes a report that Justice Eakin received offending emails to a Yahoo email under the name “John Smith.”  People recognize one cannot completely control what is received by email, and no one is likely to blame Justice Eakin for receiving these emails.  However, why the Justice felt a need to have a private email account under a pseudonym will certainly be questioned.  Justice Eakin’s involvement in these issues underscores the idea that whatever you put on the internet can be found. We would suggest the best practice for those who receive emails with questionable (or obviously offensive) content is to contact the sender (if you know who they are) and let them know not to continue to send that type of material.  More obviously, do not forward concupiscent material.  While receiving emails with questionable content is not generally reflective of the thought process, or lack thereof, of the recipient, sending emails with questionable content is. –Josh J.T. Byrne, Esquire