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Opinion 215

An opinion is requested concerning the propriety of sitting judges publicly endorsing a privately owned probation service company and/or permitting the use by such company of comments which could be construed as endorsements.

In Opinion No. 172 (September 25, 1992), the Commission concluded that no judge should have any interest, financial or otherwise, in any private, for profit, probation service company.

Such holding, together with the language of Rule 1.3 directing that “[j]udges shall not lend the prestige of their office to advance the private interests of the judge or others” and Rule 2.4(C) prohibiting judges not to “convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge” requires the same result in this instance.

Accordingly, it is the opinion of this Commission that it is inappropriate for any judicial officer to endorse or otherwise publicly align himself or herself with any private, for-profit probation service.

Any judicial officer who may have heretofore unknowingly failed to follow the dictates of this opinion is directed to take such action immediately as may be necessary to come into compliance.

[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Rule 1.3, Rule 2.4. Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #21, #97, #160, #171, #172, #179, #193, #219.]

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