State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 00-18
May judicial officers participate in domestic violence summits and other education programs on this topic?
The Gender and Justice Commission provides funding and support for local domestic violence summits in various communities around the state with the goal of addressing domestic violence in a coordinated manner. The Commission urges local judges to participate in these summits.
The summits stress utilization of the expertise of the community as each person or organization fulfills a crucial role in responding to domestic violence and more efficient use of community resources. The summits are intended to provide: 1) Understanding of the benefits of and need to work in a community-wide, coordinated manner. 2) Understanding of local resources and efforts as well as other state and national resources. 3) Increased understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence. 4) Draft action plans for at least eight to ten high priority community-wide issues. 5) Clarification of next steps for implementation of action plans.
The goals of the domestic violence summits are not to adopt specific decision-making policies but to improve a communities’ response to domestic violence. All entities are routinely invited to participate in the summits, including law enforcement officers and public defenders. Because the judiciary plays a key role in the systemic response to domestic violence, participation by the judiciary is critical.
CJC Canon 4 provides that judges, subject to the proper performance of their judicial duties, may engage in quasi-judicial duties, if in doing so they do not cast doubt on their capacity to impartially decide any issue that may come before them. CJC Canon 4(A) provides that judges may speak, write, lecture, teach and participate in other activities concerning the law, the legal system and the administration of justice.
See also Opinion 97-10.
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