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Opinion 119

The Commission has been asked for an Advisory Opinion as to whether it would be improper for a judge to hear a case with regard to a violator / defendant who had been represented by his law firm at some point in time in the past.

The fact that the defendant had been represented at some time in the past by the law firm in which the judge had been a member, would not be per se grounds requiring disqualification of the judge but, in the event the judge in fact had any personal bias or prejudice concerning the defendant/violator, or, in the event his impartiality might be reasonably questioned by reason of this past relationship either by the defendant / violator or others, then the judge, on his own initiative, should disqualify himself. (Rule 2.11(A))

[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Rules 1.2(B), 2.4(B), 2.11(A). Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #54, #71; #119, #128, #135, #136, #142, 182.]

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