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Opinion 150

The Commission has been asked for an Advisory Opinion as to whether a part-time Magistrate is permitted to serve as a reporter / commentator for a commercial television station providing news information and commentary on legal cases and issues.

The Magistrate states that the TV station is interested in his services because he is a judge with involvement in a court which deals primarily with landlord / tenant cases and other small claims cases, the facts of which are interesting and in some cases newsworthy for television.

In addition to providing news information on legal cases and other State and Superior Courts, the station would like to depict the Magistrate at the time when he makes any report or commentary as a judge in order to lend greater credibility to his presentation.

In the opinion of the Commission, it would not be appropriate for a judge to serve as a reporter / commentator for a commercial television station to provide news and comment with reference to ongoing legal cases pending in his or other courts.

[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Rules 2.10(A) and 3.7(A)(1). Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #6, #60, #110, #150.]

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