Opinion 195

A part-time magistrate requests an opinion on the following issue:

Is it inappropriate for a part-time magistrate to simultaneously be employed as the Clerk of the Recorder’s Court of the same county in which the judge presides as a part-time magistrate?

The Application section of the Code of Judicial Conduct defines a part-time judge as a judge who serves on a continuing or periodic basis, but is permitted by law to devote time to some other profession or occupation and whose compensation for that reason is less than that of a full-time judge. Hence, dual employment by a part-time judge is expressly authorized by the Code.

In addition, in Opinion No. 65, the Commission permitted a part-time judge of a State Court to also serve as a part-time judge of the Recorder’s Court in the same city. Likewise, in Opinion No. 149, the Commission concluded that it was permissible for a full-time State Court Judge to also serve as a judge in a Municipal Court, subject to possible disqualification problems. Finally, Opinion No. 157 permits a law clerk of a Superior Court Judge to serve as a part-time assistant magistrate in the same judicial circuit in which the appointee serves as clerk.

Measured by these standards, and given the express language of the application section quoted above, the question posed must be answered in the negative. However, the judge should be alert to possible disqualifications arising by virtue of holding both positions and act accordingly in any such situations.

[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Rule 2.11(A), Rule 3.11. Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #65, #149, #157, #177, #183.]

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