Opinion 19

A part-time Juvenile Court Judge relates that he is frequently contacted to represent adults alleged to have been engaged in illegal schemes or acts with a juvenile and that upon discovering this fact he declines the representation. However, he desires to know whether he may appropriately refer such adults to a partner or associate in his office.

It is the opinion of the Commission that the same considerations which appropriately lead the judge to feel that he cannot represent the adults would also make it improper for him to recommend that the adults secure the services of a partner or associate in his office.

The idea of complete impartiality pervades the entire Code of Judicial Conduct and requires that a judge should disqualify himself in a proceeding in which his “impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” Rule 2.11(A).

It would appear to be reasonably clear that where a Juvenile Court Judge may be called upon to determine the merits of charges against a juvenile, his impartiality might reasonably be questioned where a partner or associate in his office is representing the adult in the same transaction.

[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Rule 1.2(B), 2.11(A). Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #31, #48, #69, #88, #99, #107, #180, #185.]

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