431 P.3d 71 (Okla.Jud.Eth. 2018), 2018-6, Judicial Ethics Opinion 2018-6

Docket Nº:2018-6
Citation:431 P.3d 71
Party Name:JUDICIAL ETHICS OPINION 2018— 6
Case Date:September 20, 2018
Court:Oklahoma Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel
 
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431 P.3d 71 (Okla.Jud.Eth. 2018)

JUDICIAL ETHICS OPINION 2018— 6

No. 2018-6

Oklahoma Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel

September 20, 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.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

[ ¶1]. FACTS

A candidate for judicial office has inquired whether certain activities are permissible during a contested campaign for election of an Associate District Judge. The activities relate to partisan political party meetings and activities. Questions or complaints regarding

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campaign activity of a candidate for judicial office which is alleged to be in violation of applicable law, should be addressed to the Judicial Elections Committee, pursuant to Title 5 O.S. § Rule 1 (OSCN 2018), Appendix 4C.

[ ¶2]. QUESTION 1

(a) Is it permissible for a candidate for judicial office to attend a regular monthly meeting of a partisan political party, when other candidates for the same office have also been invited to attend; and (b) is it permissible if only one candidate was invited to the meeting?

[ ¶3]. ANSWER TO QUESTION 1

(a) Yes, if all candidates for the judicial office were invited. (b) No, it is not permissible if only one candidate was invited.

[ ¶4]. AUTHORITIES— QUESTION 1

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.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 2010-2 (2010 OK JUD ETH 2, 231 P.3d 163)

Judicial Ethics Opinion 1998-13 stated that "The Canons seek to prohibit all partisan political activities by judicial candidates. The only explicit exception is in 20 O.S. § 1404.1 , which permits a judicial candidate to attend a political gathering upon payment of an admission fee and "for the sole purpose of campaigning in his own behalf for a judicial office." The spirit, if not the letter, of the Canons discourage even minimal partisan political activity."

If the political function in question is open to all judicial candidates in a judicial race, so that it would not be tantamount to...

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