The Commission has been asked for an Advisory Opinion as to whether Directors of the State Board of Worker’s Compensation are subject to the Code of Judicial Conduct.
O.C.G.A. § 34-9-48 expressly provides as follows:
34-9-48. Designation of members and deputy directors as administrative law judges.
All members of the board and all deputy directors are designated as administrative law judges for the purposes of serving as hearing officers and exercising judicial functions in the implementation of this chapter.
The Code, in turn, expressly provides in the Application section:
Anyone, whether or not a lawyer, who performs judicial functions under the Constitution and laws of Georgia, including an associate judge, senior judge, special master, magistrate, or municipal judge, or any person who is a judicial candidate for any such office, is a judge for the purpose of this Code. All judges, whether full-time, part-time, or pro tempore, shall comply with this Code except as provided below.
Directors of the State Board of Worker’s Compensation do not fall within any of the enumerated exceptions which follow and, for that reason, such directors, when serving as hearing officers or exercising judicial functions, are subject to all the provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Application Section, Rules 1.2(B), 2.8. Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #94, #113, #122, #173.]