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Opinion 57

A part-time Judge of Juvenile Court in several counties has asked for an advisory opinion as to whether he can serve on the Board of Education in one of these counties.

A part-time judge is not subject to the restrictions on extra-judicial appointments which are imposed by Rule 3.4, but he remains subject to the injunctions of Rule 3.1(A) and Rule 3.7(B)(1)(a) and (b), as follows:


Rule 3.1 Participation in Extra-Judicial Activities

(A) Judges shall not engage in extra-judicial activities that detract from the dignity of their office or interfere with the performance of their judicial duties.

. . .

Rule 3.7 Participation in Law-Related, Educational, Religious, Charitable, Fraternal, or Civic Organizations and Activities 

(B) Judges may participate in educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic activities that do not reflect adversely upon their impartiality or interfere with the performance of their judicial duties.

(1) Judges may serve as officers, directors, trustees, or non-legal advisors of educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organizations not conducted for the economic or political advantage of their members, subject to the following limitations:

(a) judges shall not serve if it is likely that the organization will be engaged in proceedings that would ordinarily come before them;


In Opinion No. 18, the Commission held that a Judge of the Superior Court is prohibited from serving as a member of a Board of Education, but this conclusion was predicated primarily on Rule 3.4, which has no application to a part-time judge.

For that reason, the Commission concludes that a part-time judge is not prohibited from serving as a member of the Board of Education unless the Board has been, or there is reason to anticipate that it will be, engaged in proceedings that ordinarily come before him, or would be regularly engaged in adversary proceedings in any court.

At the same time, the Commission is of the opinion that the judge should not participate as a member of the Board of Education in any matter where there exists any probability that it may come before him in his capacity as Judge of the Juvenile Court and that he should at all times exercise special care to abide by the injunction of Rule 2.1 that: “The judicial duties of judges take precedence over all their other activities.”

[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Canon 1, Rules 1.2(B), 3.1(A), 3.4, 3.7(A)(2), 3.7(B)(1). Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #18, #38, #45, #103, #125, #139, #178, #192.]

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