452 P.3d 447 (Okla.Jud.Eth. 2019), 2019-1, Judicial Ethics Opinion 2019-1

Docket Nº:2019-1
Citation:452 P.3d 447
Party Name:JUDICIAL ETHICS OPINION 2019-1
Judge Panel:Honorable Edward C. Cunningham, Chairman, Honorable Bill Hetherington, Honorable Tom Landrith, Honorable Allen McCall, Honorable April Sellers White.
Case Date:September 11, 2019
Court:Oklahoma Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel
 
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Page 447

452 P.3d 447 (Okla.Jud.Eth. 2019)

JUDICIAL ETHICS OPINION 2019-1

No. 2019-1

Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel of Oklahoma

September 11, 2019

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

A member of a sitting judge’s immediate family works for an entity that, through a public state university, publishes training manuals for firefighters, emergency medical technicians and others. The manuals are used in training that is required for various certifications. The family member will be working on a book for fire investigations that includes a section on testifying in court. The editors have asked if they could take staged pictures of the judge on the bench to use in the book, and specifically in the chapter on testifying in court. The judge would not be paid for appearing in the staged pictures or for the use of those pictures in the book or in manuals. The pictures would also likely be added to the entity’s stock photos for use in the future.

[¶2]. QUESTION

Is a judge prohibited by the Code of Judicial Conduct from appearing in the staged pictures and allowing the pictures to be used in publications by the entity?

[¶3]. ANSWER

The judge is not prohibited from the proposed activity, and is allowed to appear in the staged pictures to be used as described.

[¶4]. AUTHORITIES

5 O.S. Rule 1.2 (OSCN 2019), Appendix 4 -- Code of Judicial Conduct. Rule 1.2 Promoting Confidence in the Judiciary.

A judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, and avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.

Comment (6). A judge is permitted and encouraged to initiate and participate in community outreach activities for the purpose of promoting public understanding of and confidence in the administration of...

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