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Opinion 183

An opinion is requested concerning the effect of the 1993 amendment to O.C.G.A. § 15-1-8, relating to when a judge or judicial officer is disqualified, upon Opinion No. 175 of this Commission issued October 23, 1992.

O.C.G.A. §15-1-8 was amended by adding a new subsection which reads as follows:

(d) In all cases in which a part-time judge has a conflict because such judge or his or her partner or associate represents a governmental agency or entity, a subdivision of government, or any other client, the judge will recuse himself or herself or, with the permission of the parties, transfer the case to the state or superior court, but such judge will not otherwise be disqualified or prohibited from serving as attorney for such governmental bodies.

Although perhaps inartfully worded, the obvious intent of this amendment is to avoid the holding of this Commission in Opinion No. 175. Without in any way attempting to construe this amendment, it is nevertheless clear that the long-standing practice of part-time judges simultaneously serving as attorneys for governmental bodies, disapproved in Opinion No. 175, is now specifically authorized by the laws of this State. Accordingly, said Opinion is now in direct conflict with existing law and is therefore expressly WITHDRAWN.

[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Canon 1, Rule 2.11, Compliance Provision (A)(2). Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #52, #59, #109, #121, #134, #151, #155, #175, #177, #183, #196.]

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