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Opinion 142

An Advisory Opinion has been requested as to whether a part-time judge, who is engaged in the practice of law, is required to disqualify himself because he currently serves as opposing counsel in two cases which are being handled by counsel of one of the parties in the case before him.

Rule 2.11(A) provides that judges should disqualify in proceedings in which their impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including but not limited to, enumerated instances which do not include, as a per se ground for disqualification the fact of being adverse counsel in unrelated litigation.

At the same time, if a judge is in fact biased or prejudiced toward a party or his lawyer, for this or any other reason, or if, in addition to this adversarial relationship, other related circumstances are such that his impartiality might reasonably be questioned, then it is his affirmative duty to recuse and, if he does not, his failure maybe challenged in the manner provided for by law.

[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, #182.]

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