276 P.3d 1121 (Okla.Jud.Eth. 2012), 2012-1, In re Judicial Ethics Opinion 2012-1

Docket Nº:2012-1.
Citation:276 P.3d 1121, 2012 OK JUD ETH 1
Judge Panel:Milton C. Craig, Chairman, Robert E. Lavender, Vice-Chairman, Vicki L. Robertson, Secretary
Case Date:April 17, 2012
Court:Oklahoma Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel

Page 1121

276 P.3d 1121 (Okla.Jud.Eth. 2012)

2012 OK JUD ETH 1


No. 2012-1.

Oklahoma Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel.

April 17, 2012

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: May a judge participate in a " Court School" program designed to help children, in a mock court scenario, to get more comfortable in preparing to testify in court in child abuse cases in which they were the alleged victim?

¶ 2 Facts: One of the programs of a Child Abuse Network is to conduct " Court School" designed to reduce a child's stress and anxiety before the child must appear at a hearing, the object being to improve the credibility of the witness and competence as a witness, according to information generated by the local District Attorney's Office. The release states that this is a collaborative effort of the Child Abuse Network, District Attorney's Office and the County Bar Association. The judge posing the question states that the Executive Director of the County Bar Association advised that he is unaware of any present involvement of the County Bar with the program. The website of the District Attorney's Office states " Court School is needing voluntary judges. Court School is put on by the Victim Witness Center. It is a mock court scenario to help kids get used to a courtroom before their court dates. Court School meets from 6-7. The dates volunteers are needed for the year are attached. Please let me know if you are able to help on any of these dates. Thank you." This communication was sent to the judges of the county.

¶ 3 Answer: Such participation is prohibited by the Oklahoma Code of Judicial Conduct.

¶ 4 Discussion: Canon 1, Rule 1.2 of the Oklahoma Code of Judicial Conduct, the subject of which is " Promoting Confidence in the Judiciary" states: " A judge shall act at all times in a manner to promote public confidence in the independence, integrity and impartiality of the Judiciary, and avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety" . Comment 21 states: " A judge should expect to be the subject of public scrutiny that might be...

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