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Judge's Facebook friendship upends Wisconsin custody case

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports the Idaho Court of Appeals overturned a decision by First...
The Coeur d'Alene Press reports the Idaho Court of Appeals overturned a decision by First District Judge John Mitchell and sent the case back to district court in Kootenai County. (Source: Pixabay)(KMVT)
Published: Jun. 16, 2020 at 11:43 AM CDT
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A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled that a judge's decision to become Facebook friends with a woman whose child custody case he was hearing created at least the appearance of bias.

The court on Tuesday upheld a lower court's order that the case be re-heard by another judge.

The ruling was the first of its kind in Wisconsin and it could test the boundaries of social media use by judges.

It is the latest in a series of examples across the country where a judge's actions on social media call into question their ability to fairly consider cases before them.

AP-WF-06-16-20 1546GMT