An Advisory Opinion is requested as to whether it is proper for a Judge Pro Tem of a Municipal Court to also serve as either a paid or unpaid instructor in a State-certified driver improvement clinic.
Rule 1.3 provides “Judges shall not lend the prestige of their office to advance the private interests of the judge or others.” Rule 2.4(C) states “Judges shall not convey or enable others to convey the impression that any person or organization is in a position to influence the judge.”
Inherent in the proposed employment of a Municipal Court Judge, with jurisdiction over traffic violations, as an instructor in a driver improvement clinic is (1) the risk that the prestige of the office is being used to advance the interests of the clinic and (2) the risk of a conflict of interest should any of his students appear before the judge for traffic violations.
For these reasons, the question must be answered in the negative.
[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Rules 1.2(B), 2.4(B), 3.1(A), 3.7(A)(1). Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #11, #32, #46, #47, #53, #61, #76, #102, #148, #160, #189.]