Federal Judge uses official account to send wildly inappropriate Emails

This is not a “Social Media” fail, per se, but it certainly is the same general idea: a appointed official of high prestige using the internet in a manner that is both absurdly stupid and beneath the dignity of his office.

In 2012, Judge Richard Cebull was busted for using his official Email address to send a racially charged Email about President Obama:

A little boy said to his mother; ‘Mommy, how come I’m black and you’re white?’” the email joke reads. “His mother replied, ‘Don’t even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you’re lucky you don’t bark!’

Really high-quality jurist there.

A report was released this past Friday which showed that Cebull had used his official address to send hundreds of inappropriate Emails on a variety of issues, including many which dealt with issues that may have appeared before Cebull’s court.  These included other racially charged Emails, attacks on LGBT individuals, women, immigrants and more.

Cebull was sanctioned though his impeachment was not recommended, since the investigation found that Cebull had not actually violated any laws.  The same report found that Cebull’s rulings showed no indication of bias, though two of the judges on the review panel did say that they would have asked for Cebull’s resignation.

Among the sanctions:

  • A public repremand.
  • No new cases for 180 days.
  • Training on ethics, racial awareness and bias
  • A second public apology.

Cebull stepped down as judge in 2013, two weeks after the findings were first released.  As a result, much of the above order was never enforced.

Cebull’s only saving grace here is that there were no findings of bias – otherwise, he could have been in real trouble.

I can never get over how dumb someone has to be to put so much inappropriateness in writing.  As we saw in Pennsylvania during the Bonusgate scandal, inappropriate use of Email is one of the dumbest things anyone can do.  Why on earth would you put illegal or morally questionable activities in writing?  Digital is forever.

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