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Online, content is forever available through search engines. Yet otherwise rational people write things in chat rooms and online forums that they would never say in person. Beware! Your words can come back to haunt you.
An extreme example of why one needs to think before hitting “send,” is the case of Richmond, VA General District Judge Ralph B. Robertson. He has resigned after facing disclosure of racially charged remarks he wrote in an Internet chat room. His writings included statements suggesting that blacks have a biological tendency toward violence.
The Richmond Free Press, a weekly newspaper with a predominantly black readership, reported Thursday that Robertson 60, decided to leave the bench five years before the end of his term knowing that disclosure of his statements would undermine the perception of his ability to judge cases fairly.
A member of the chat room gave the judge’s comments to The Free Press. Most of them were posted between Jan. 25 and Feb. 19, and Robinson confirmed to the paper that he wrote them.