231 P.3d 163 (Okla.Jud.Eth. 2010), 2010-2, In re Judicial Ethics Opinion 2010-2

Docket Nº:2010-2.
Citation:231 P.3d 163, 2010 OK JUD ETH 2
Judge Panel:Robert L. Bailey, Chairman, Milton C. Craig, Secretary, Robert E. Lavender
Case Date:April 23, 2010
Court:Oklahoma Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel

Page 163

231 P.3d 163 (Okla.Jud.Eth. 2010)

2010 OK JUD ETH 2


No. 2010-2.

Oklahoma Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel.

April 23, 2010

Editorial Note:

The Opinions of the Ethics Advisory Panel are advisory only and can be relied by the Council on Judicial Complaints while recommending discipline of a Judge or a Judicial Candidate and not binding on the Council or Courts in the exercise of their judicial discipline responsibilities.


¶ 1 Question(s): 1. May a candidate for judicial office attend a political gathering that was organized for the benefit of an independent legislator who has been a friend of long standing?

¶ 2 2. Does the attendance by a judicial candidate at a political gathering upon payment of either no admission fee or a nominal admission fee, for the sole purpose of campaigning on his/her own behalf (which is not prohibited by 20 O.S. § 1404.1) violate any provisions of Canon 5 of the Oklahoma Code of Judicial Conduct?

¶ 3 Answer(s): Question 1: No

Question 2: Yes, with certain restrictions

¶ 4 Discussion: Question 1-The facts as presented are that the function in question was for the sole benefit of a particular candidate in a partisan election campaign. Even though the judicial candidate at the event would not overtly publicly endorse the candidate for whom the event was held, either by word or wearing of any campaign button, sticker, etc., his or her appearance at this type of event could not be construed as anything but an endorsement of that candidate and would violate Canon 5 A(1)(b). Such attendance could also be construed as engaging in partisan political activity.

¶ 5 Question 2-We have addressed a similar question in Judicial Ethic Opinion 2002-9, wherein we stated that " It is not within the mandate of the Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel to interpret the statutes of the State of Oklahoma, that function being vested in the Courts of our state. However, in questions such as this, when it may appear that there is a possible conflict between a statute and a canon of the Code of Judicial Conduct, it is necessary in order to be helpful to the party posing the question, to make reference to both and examine them side by side. It would appear that the statute is designed to permit a candidate for judicial office to attend a partisan political function and to pay for...

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