State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 02-18
May an elected county clerk serve as a court commissioner under CJC Canon 7(A)(4)? Would it make a difference if the clerk/commissioner did not serve as commissioner while seeking election or re-election to the clerk’s position? Could the commissioner comply with the canon by resigning from his or her judicial position during the campaign period for the non-judicial clerk’s position or does the canon completely preclude the commissioner from also serving as clerk?
CJC Canon 7(A)(4) provides that judges shall resign from office when they become candidates either in a primary or general election for nonjudicial office. The canon’s prohibition against a judicial officer remaining in office once he or she becomes a candidate for a nonjudicial office implicitly remains after the individual assumes the nonjudicial office. It is therefore inappropriate for an elected county clerk to be a court commissioner at any time under CJC Canon 7(A)(4).
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