Opinion 109

An Advisory Opinion is requested as to whether an attorney who is serving as County Attorney may also serve as State Court Judge of the county which he represents.

The Application provision of the Code of Judicial Conduct provides in pertinent part:

A. Part-time Judges. A part-time judge is a judge who serves on a continuing or periodic basis, but who is permitted by law to devote time to some other profession or occupation and whose compensation for that reason is less than that of a full time judge. Part-time judges:

(1) are not required to comply with Rules 3.4 [extra-judicial appointments], 3.8 [fiduciary activities], 3.9 [arbitration and mediation], 3.10 [practice of law], and 3.15 (A) (1) [annual financial reporting of extra-judicial compensation]. 

(2) shall not practice law in the court on which they serve, or act as lawyers in proceedings for which they have served as judges or in any proceeding related thereto; nor should they practice law in any court over which the court they serve as a part-time judge conducts appellate review.

In Opinion No. 45, the Commission has held that a part-time judge can represent the county board of education and, in Opinion No. 107, that, subject to certain reservations stated therein, a part-time judge can represent defendants in criminal cases.

For the same reason, the Commission is of the opinion that, since a part-time judge is permitted to practice law, he may serve as County Attorney of the county in which his court is located, provided such representation does not involve a matter in which he has served as judge, a matter then pending in his court or a matter which he knows, or has reason to believe, will later be brought into his court.

[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Canon 1, Rules 1.2(B), 2.4(B), 2.11, 3.10, Application Provision A(2). Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #52, #59, #121, #151, #155, #175, #177, #183. See also O.C.G.A. § 15-1-8]

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