419 P.3d 390 (Okla.Jud.Eth. 2018), 2018-1, Judicial Ethics Opinion 2018-1

Docket Nº:2018-1
Citation:419 P.3d 390, 2018 OK JUD ETH 1
Party Name:JUDICIAL ETHICS OPINION 2018-1
Judge Panel:Honorable Edward C. Cunningham, Honorable Bill Hetherington, Honorable April Sellers White, Honorable Tom Landrith, Honorable Allen McCall.
Case Date:March 13, 2018
Court:Oklahoma Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel
 
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419 P.3d 390 (Okla.Jud.Eth. 2018)

2018 OK JUD ETH 1

JUDICIAL ETHICS OPINION 2018-1

No. 2018-1

Oklahoma Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel

March 13, 2018

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.

OPINION

[ ¶1] FACTS:

An attorney is presently holding the positions of part-time municipal judge for two small cities in the State of Oklahoma. Both of the municipal courts are not "courts of record." These municipal courts are in the county of the attorney’s residence. This attorney has decided to run for election to the position of County Commissioner for the county of his residence.

[ ¶2] QUESTION #_ 1: Is the attorney required to resign the part-time judicial positions before and or during the election campaign period for County Commissioner?

[ ¶3] ANSWER TO QUESTION_ # 1: Yes.

[ ¶4] DISCUSSION— QUESTION #1: The attorney should resign both municipal judge positions prior to running for election to the non-judicial position of County Commissioner. This is based on the following authorities.

5 O.S. § Canon 4 (OSCN 2018), Appendix 4— Code of Judicial Conduct

A Judge or Candidate for Judicial Office Shall Not Engage in Political or Campaign Activity That is Inconsistent with the Independence, Integrity, or Impartiality of the Judiciary.

5 O.S. § Rule 4.5 (OSCN 2018), Appendix 4— Code of Judicial Conduct. Activities of Judges Who Become Candidates for Non-Judicial Office.

(A) Upon becoming a candidate for a non-judicial elective office, a judge shall resign from judicial office unless permitted by law to continue to hold judicial office.

Comment [1] In campaigns for nonjudicial elective public office, candidates may make pledges, promises, or commitments related to positions they would take and

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ways they would act if elected to office. Although appropriate in nonjudicial campaigns, this manner of campaigning is inconsistent with the role of...

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