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Opinion 38

The Commission has been requested to render an opinion on the following question:

Would it constitute a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct for a judge to serve on a State Board of Probation, the primary function of which would be to set policy for and to administer the Statewide Probation Act, pursuant to legislation providing that probation is a function of the judicial system and that such a board would be comprised of a certain number of judges?

Rule 1.1 of the Code of Judicial Conduct provides in part that a judge should respect and comply with the law.

Rule 2.1 of the Code of Judicial Conduct provides that a judge’s duties include all the duties of his office prescribed by law.

Rule 3.4 of said Code provides that a judge may serve as a member of a governmental agency devoted to the administration of justice.

Assuming, but not deciding, that the General Assembly of Georgia has the legal authority to vest the function and responsibility of administering the Statewide Probation Act in and to the judicial branch of the government and enacts legislation to that effect, which legislation further provides that judges shall comprise the State Board of Probation for the purposes of administering said Act, then, in our opinion, it would not constitute a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct for a judge to serve on such board because such judge would be complying with the law (Rule 1.1), would be performing duties of his office prescribe by law (Rule 2.1), and would be serving as a member of a governmental agency, made by law a part of the judicial system, which is devoted to the administration of justice (Rule 3.4).

[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Canon 1, Rules 1.2(B), 2.4(C), 2.8, 3.4, 3.7(A)(2), 3.7(B). Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #18, #26, #105, #125, #158.]

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