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Opinion 124

An opinion is requested as to whether it is appropriate for a judge who is in the second year of a four year term and plans to run for re-election, or for another judicial office at the expiration of his term

1. to attend a fund-raising event for a partisan, non-judicial candidate, provided he complies with the restrictions of Opinion No. 83 and Rule 3.7(B)(2) and the purpose of his attendance is to encourage individuals to vote for him in the future election; and

2. to attend an “appreciation dinner” for a friend who is retiring from the General Assembly, provided he complies with these restrictions imposed by Opinion No. 83; and

3. as to whether the judge is a “judicial candidate” within the meaning of subsection (B) of Rule 4.1 of the Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct.

Rule 4.1(B) provides:

(B) Judges and judicial candidates holding an office filled either by retention election or by public election between competing candidates may attend political gatherings and speak to such gatherings on their own behalf when they are candidates for election or re-election.

If a Judge or a candidate has made the decision to run for election or re-election to public office, he is a “judicial candidate” within the meaning of sub-section (B) of Rule 4.1 and, if he is acting on his own behalf, pursuant to this purpose, questions one and two must be answered in the affirmative.

[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Rule 3.7(A)(1), 3.11, 4.1(A), 4.1(B), 4.2(A)(2). Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #1, #23, #36, #83, #108, #118, #147, #165, #208.]

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