Opinion 18

A recently appointed Judge of the Superior Court has requested an opinion as to whether he should continue to serve as a member of a county area board of education which is the board of education for an area vocational technical school.

As is well known, boards of education are now frequently involved in various kinds of litigation, and in that view it would appear appropriate under Rule 3.7(B)(1)(a) that a Judge of the Superior Court not serve as a member of such a board. Rule 3.7(B)(1)(a) provides that “judges shall not serve if it is likely that the organization will be engaged in proceedings that would ordinarily come before them.”

However, aside from this consideration, Rule 3.4 provides that “Judges should not accept appointment to a governmental committee, commission, or other position that is concerned with issues of fact or policy on matters other than the improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice, if acceptance of such appointment might reasonably cast doubt upon their impartiality or demean the judge’s office.”

This Canon prohibits a judge from serving as a member of a Board of Education of the character described above.

[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Canon 1, Rule 1.2(B), 3.1(C), 3.4, 3.7(A)(2), 3.7(B)(1)(a). Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #57, #103, #105, #125, #139, #158.]

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