Blogging Prosecutors Raise Some Eyebrows

Ed Jagels launched a blog last year. Normally, yet another blog wouldn't attract any attention, much less a story in the local paper.

Jagels, however, stands apart from the thousands of people who post their opinions online every day. He's the district attorney of Kern County, and he posted his discourse -- a one-page column detailing what he called "shoddy journalism" by the Bakersfield Californian newspaper -- on the publicly funded county Web site.

Jagels, the county's district attorney since 1983, isn't the only civic official taking his case to the blogosphere. Santa Clara County's recently retired head prosecutor, San Diego's city attorney and the lead prosecutor in Fayette County, Ky., are among those who also have waged online campaigns tackling issues ranging from news coverage and court decisions to politics and their own accomplishments.

The trend is raising questions about ethical impropriety and legality as well as plain common sense. Those concerns are particularly acute, experts say, if prosecutors are commenting on pending cases. They warn that these public officials may be opening themselves up to lawsuits and appeals -- which taxpayers would end up paying for.

Details here from the San Francisco Chronicle.