426 P.3d 640 (Okla.Jud.Eth. 2018), 2018-4, Judicial Ethics Opinion 2018-4

Docket Nº:2018-4
Citation:426 P.3d 640, 2018 OK JUD ETH 4
Party Name:JUDICIAL ETHICS OPINION 2018-4
Case Date:August 08, 2018
Court:Oklahoma Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel
 
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Page 640

426 P.3d 640 (Okla.Jud.Eth. 2018)

2018 OK JUD ETH 4

JUDICIAL ETHICS OPINION 2018-4

No. 2018-4

Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel of Oklahoma

August 8, 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.

[¶1]. FACTS

An Associate District Judge previously served as an Assistant District Attorney for approximately ten years, prior to taking the bench. During that time, she prosecuted several high profile murder cases related to one defendant. The defendant in these cases was ultimately convicted and is currently serving a prison term. The judge has been approached for an interview by an author who is writing a true crime novel about cases.

[¶2]. QUESTIONS

(1) Is there anything which ethically prohibits the judge from talking with the author about any of the cases? If so, what is the scope of this prohibition?

(2) Is there anything that ethically prohibits the judge from profiting from the sale of this book?

[¶3]. ANSWER

No as to both questions.

[¶4]. DISCUSSION

A perusal of the entire code of judicial conduct, and in particular the terminology section, Rule 1.2, Rule 3.1, Rule 3.12, Rule 3.13 do not prohibit the activity subject to these questions. Rule 3.15 would require the amount of compensation to be reported as required by the Ethics Commission.

However, Rule 1.3 "Avoiding abuse of the prestige of the judicial office" must be adhered to. Particularly, comment [4] speaks to the...

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