State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 00-06
May a judicial officer allow his or her name, title, photograph and favorable comments to be used in an informational newsletter by a not-for-profit medical facility from which the judicial officer has received extensive medical treatment? Does it make any difference if the judicial officer’s title is used in the publication? Would it matter if the publication, which is in the form of a newsletter, also includes a phone number to call for more information about making a gift in support of the fight against cancer?
Some years ago, the judicial officer was treated for cancer at the medical center. The judicial officer was pleased with the treatment and is a cancer survivor. The medical center has contacted the judicial officer and asked if the judicial officer would allow them to use the judicial officer’s photograph, name, title, and story in an upcoming publication. The emphasis of the article would be the judicial officer’s experiences with cancer, treatment and recovery. They would also like to include the judicial title and discuss the judicial officer’s position. The article would also feature three other individuals.
The publication is a newsletter, but one intention would most likely be to attract patients to the program. Some issues include a short segment on contributing with a phone number for more information about how to help support the fight against cancer.
CJC Canon 2(B) provides in part that judges may not lend the prestige of the judicial office to advance the private interest of the judge or others. Canon 5(B) provides that judges may participate in charitable activities that do not reflect adversely upon their impartiality or interfere with the performance of their judicial duties. Subsection 5(B)(2) provides that judges should not use the prestige of their office to solicit contributions for any charitable organization.
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