A sampling of recent judicial ethics advisory opinions

  • A judge may not employ their spouse as their judicial assistant. Florida Advisory Opinion 2022-12.
  • A judge is not disqualified from cases involving a subject that is the same as or similar to a subject involved in a criminal case in which their spouse is representing the defendant. Colorado Advisory Opinion 2022-6.
  • An appellate jurist who has a personal residential tax appeal pending before the tax appeals session should disqualify themself from all matters appealed from the tax appeals session. Connecticut Informal Advisory Opinion 2022-6.
  • A judge may teach a law school clinic that will draft legislation to create civil liability for encouraging, assisting, or facilitating racially motivated crimes and propose the legislation to legislators. New York Advisory Opinion 2022-97.
  • A judge may speak in a free, virtual seminar for law students entitled “Diverse Pathways: Exploring Avenues to a Meaningful Legal Career,” presented by a statewide law firm, and the firm may advertise the judge’s participation. Florida Advisory Opinion 2022-11.
  • A judge should not attend a training course regarding speed detection devices that is offered by a law enforcement agency and open only to judicial officers, prosecutors, and members of law enforcement. Ohio Advisory Opinion 2022-8.
  • A magistrate may serve as a trustee of a condominium association but may not engage in the resolution of disputes between residents and should not use their position or title in connection with service on the board. Ohio Advisory Opinion 2022-10.
  • A supreme court justice who is chair of a church council may inform other council members and inquiring church members about the procedure for disaffiliation from the national church organization. South Carolina Advisory Opinion 14-2022.
  • A judge may serve as a member of the board of directors on the long-range planning committee of a not-for-profit hospital when the committee is not involved in fundraising and the hospital is rarely, if ever, a party to litigation in the judge’s court. Florida Advisory Opinion 2022-13.
  • Judges may not perform as actors and play judges or mediators presiding over fictional disputes on a television show. Alabama Advisory Opinion 2022-950.
  • If character testimony is being a sought, absent a subpoena, a judicial officer may not at the request of a criminal defendant’s attorney submit a declaration in a habeas corpus action regarding their prior representation of the defendant. If the judicial officer has any question regarding whether the testimony may be construed as character testimony, they should err on the side of requiring a subpoena. Even if the declaration only contains factual testimony, the judicial officer is advised to require a subpoena. California Expedited Opinion 2022-49.
  • A judge may maintain a profile on a dating website and communicate online for the purpose of dating. New York Advisory Opinion 2022-119.
  • A judge may have a LinkedIn profile page that identifies them as a judicial officer and identifies the court on which they serve and may be pictured in robes in their profile picture as long as the photo is taken in an appropriate setting, for example, a courtroom or chambers. Colorado Advisory Opinion 2022-5.
  • A full-time or part-time magistrate may not seek election to, or serve on, a local, city, or state board of education, city council, or county board of commissioners. Ohio Advisory Opinion 2022-9.
  • A judge or a judicial candidate may be a member of the committee planning the strategies for their own campaign for judicial office but may not be a member of a committee that primarily solicits and accepts campaign contributions, and the committees must be separate, and the distinction clearly delineated. Michigan Advisory Opinion JI-152 (2022).
  • A judicial candidate or their campaign committee may post photographs on social media of the candidate with sitting judges at a public or professional event, such as a bar association function, if the judges consent, there is nothing that indicates an endorsement, and a caption makes clear that the judges do not endorse the candidate. New York Advisory Opinion 2022-96.

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