434 P.3d 17 (Okla.Jud.Eth. 2018), 2018-7, Judicial Ethics Opinion 2018-7

Docket Nº:2018-7
Citation:434 P.3d 17
Judge Panel:The Honorable April Sellers White, (Retired), Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel Member, The Honorable Edward C. Cunningham, (Retired), Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel Chair, The Honorable William C. Hetherington, (Retired), Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel Member, The Honorable Allen McCall, (Retired),...
Case Date:October 16, 2018
Court:Oklahoma Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel

Page 17

434 P.3d 17 (Okla.Jud.Eth. 2018)


No. 2018-7

Oklahoma Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel

October 16, 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 upcoming book entitled "Prudent Jurisprudence" containing law reviews and other articles written by District Judge Bill Graves will be published by the Center for Cultural Leadership in California. Judge Graves wants to include in this book an article from The Oklahoma Constitution newspaper, "Conservative Heroes of Oklahoma: Bill Graves", which was published about him in the Spring 2016 issue at page 6. The article also discussed at some length Graves v. McElderry, 946 F.Supp. 1569 (WD Okla. 1996), in which practicing attorney Graves brought suit to challenge the constitutionality of the long-standing Oklahoma practice of printing the name of the Democrat candidate in the top position on each ballot.


Does inclusion of the article, "Conservative Heroes of Oklahoma: Bill Graves", especially the portions about Graves v. McElderry, 946 F.Supp. 1569 (WD Okla. 1996) in the upcoming publication of "Prudent Jurisprudence" constitute a legal or ethical violation of 20 O.S. § 1404(6)?

[ ¶3] ANSWER



Although 20 O.S. § 1404(6) does not restrain what a newspaper reporter can write, a violation arises if a judge knowingly permits the publication of an article which makes publicly known, directly or by implication, his political party affiliation. The article’s clear identification of Bill Graves as a conservative makes its inclusion in the new book a violation because in Oklahoma "conservative" means a person affiliated with the Republican party.

Bill Graves filed the lawsuit against McElderry alleging that the established Oklahoma election practice of always placing the Democratic candidate...

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