Opinion 180

A Juvenile Court Judge requests an opinion concerning the limitations of practice, if any, for a Juvenile Court Judge pro tempore in light of the provision of O.C.G.A. § 15-11-3(g). Specifically, is a practicing attorney who is appointed twice a year as a Juvenile Court Judge pro tempore pursuant to the provisions of O.C.G.A. § 15-11-63 prohibited from practicing in the juvenile court by reason of the limitations of O.C.G.A. § 15-11-3(g)?

Insofar as the question posed involves construction of the applicable statutes, it is a question of law for the courts and beyond the jurisdiction of the Commission. Insofar as the question might involve the judicial canons, it is answered as follows:

Part B of the Application Section of the Code of Judicial Conduct governs the conduct of judges pro tempore and defines such a judge as a person who is appointed to act temporarily as a judge. The only limitation placed upon lawyers who serve in this capacity is found in Section (B)(2) which provides:

Persons who have been judges pro tempore should not act as lawyers in proceedings in which they have served as judges or in any other proceeding related thereto.

Subject to this limitation, there appears to be no restriction upon the right of an attorney who periodically serves as a Juvenile Court Judge pro tempore to also practice in the juvenile court, and accordingly, the question posed must be answered in the negative. Additionally, such service standing alone, would not appear to warrant disqualification of the full-time Juvenile Court Judge in other cases handled by such attorney.

[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Canon 1, Application Provisions (A)(2). Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #19, #31, #44, #45, #48, #69, #107, #134, #180, #185.]

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