An alert reader directed me to a new letter from Judge Sheryl A. Pethers published yesterday on the Windy City Times website. That's a link to the complete letter. Please click over and read it.
I appreciate the fact that Judge Pethers did not intend her original memo for the general public. I referenced it here, and responded to the Sun-Times column about it, when the memo was already in the public domain.
Here again is a cautionary tale about the modern age: Anything we write, whether intended for general consumption or not, may slip into the public eye. If you send a private letter to Aunt Betty and it winds up getting quoted in the newspaper, you probably know who to blame. If you send an email blast, however, to multiple recipients, you should realize that you are encouraging the sharing of the views expressed therein. You lose control, then, of how that sharing takes place, and with whom. And if you post something on Facebook, even though you have only 22 "friends," you are only one "share" away from a potential news story.
And one last suggestion: If a reporter ever does call you about something you've written -- especially if it's not something you intended for the consideration of the general public -- return the call immediately. You may not be able to prevent the wider dissemination of your statement, even if it was only meant for poor Aunt Betty's private amusement, but it's better to try and provide clarification and context before than after.
How the "first-come, first serve rule" applies in Illinois auto liability cases - It happens all too frequently in the real world: The at-fault driver causes damage to multiple vehicles, careening off this one, into that one, his vehicle...
3 weeks ago