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§ 5-303.2. Appearances before governmental bodies and consultation with government officials.

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   A judge shall not appear voluntarily at a public hearing before, or otherwise consult with, an executive or a legislative body or official, except:

   (A) in connection with matters concerning the law,* the legal system, or the administration of justice;

   (B) in connection with matters about which the judge acquired knowledge* or expertise in the course of the judge’s judicial duties; or

   (C) when the judge is acting pro se in a matter involving the judge’s legal or economic interests,* or when the judge is acting in a fiduciary* capacity.

 

COMMENT

 

   [1] Judges possess special expertise in matters of law, the legal system, and the administration of justice, and may properly share that expertise with governmental bodies and executive or legislative branch officials.

 

   [2] In appearing before governmental bodies or consulting with government officials, judges must be mindful that they remain subject to other provisions of this Code, such as Rule 1.3, prohibiting judges from using the prestige of office to advance their own or others’ interests, Rule 2.10, governing public comment on pending and impending matters, and Rule 3.1(C), prohibiting judges from engaging in extrajudicial activities that would appear to a reasonable person to undermine the judge’s independence, integrity, or impartiality.

 

   [3] In general, it would be an unnecessary and unfair burden to prohibit judges from appearing before governmental bodies or consulting with government officials on matters that are likely to affect them as private citizens, such as zoning proposals affecting their real property. In engaging in such activities, however, judges must not refer to their judicial positions, and must otherwise exercise caution to avoid using the prestige of judicial office.

 

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This page was last modified on Monday, October 22, 2012