A public defence lawyer in Florida has lost her job after posting a picture of her client’s exotic underwear on Facebook. A Miami-Dade judge also declared mistrial in the associated murder case. Fermin Recalde is accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death in 2010.
Recalde’s family had brought him a bag of fresh clothes to wear during the trial, and while Miami-Dade corrections officers were searching the items as part of a routine inspection, Recalde’s public defender Anya Cintron Stern took a photo of his leopard-print briefs with her phone. Later on during a break, the 31-year-old lawyer posted the picture to her personal Facebook page, complete with a caption suggesting that the defendant’s family believed the underwear was “proper attire for a trial”.
Despite the fact that her profile was set to private and only viewable by her friends, someone who saw the post notified Miami-Dade Judge Leon Firtel, who declared a mistrial. Cintron Stern was immediately fired because of the Facebook picture, and it later transpired that an earlier post on her Facebook profile appeared to question her client’s innocence.
Miami-Dade Public Defender Carlos Martinez said: “When a lawyer broadcasts disparaging and humiliating words and pictures, it undermines the basic client relationship and it gives the appearance that he is not receiving a fair trial.”
Sharing sensitive information online can land you in a lot of trouble, and as this episode shows, can even cost you your job. Privacy settings on social networks can be very confusing at times, but you should still always thing before you post.