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Opinion 151

The Commission has been asked for an Advisory Opinion as to whether it is a violation of Canon 1 for a Municipal Court Judge to also serve as City Attorney and advise the city when ordinances are drafted and adopted and to thereafter sit in judgment on people; accused of violating such ordinances.

In Opinion No. 101, this Commission stated as follows:

In Opinion No. 34, the Commission concluded that a police officer was disqualified by reason of his office to serve as a Justice of the Peace and, for the same reason, totally without respect to the nature of his duties, the Commission must conclude that any employee of a law enforcement body is disqualified by conflict of interest from serving as a magistrate.

The City Attorney whose duties include assistance in the drafting and adopting of criminal ordinances is certainly an employee of a law enforcement body and therefore disqualified by conflict of interest from serving as a Municipal Court Judge.

[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Canons 1, Rule 1.2(B), 2.4(B), 2.11(A), 3.10, Application Provision (A)(2). Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #52, #59, #70, #109, #121, #137, #155, #175, #177, #183.]

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