State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 03-15
May a judicial officer, who presides over dependency actions, write a letter of support at the request of the county juvenile court for the nomination of a CASA as CASA of the Year in a statewide competition? If so, may the letter be written on the judicial officer’s official letterhead?
The CASA, who was nominated as CASA of the Year, regularly appears before the judicial officer on the dependency calendar in the CASA capacity. The CASA volunteer’s courtroom activities include presenting CASA reports, oral supplementation of reports, calling of witnesses, questioning of witnesses, making oral arguments and testifying. As a member of the business community, the CASA is a self-employed broker. The judicial officer’s spouse worked in the broker’s office part-time for one year.
The judicial officer would like to send the letter, with a copy to DSHS and to counsel who routinely appear before the judicial officer, because the CASA is deserving of consideration for the statewide award.
The letter sets out a summary of the actions of the CASA in several cases, which were before the judge. It covers specific activities conducted by the CASA based on the judicial officer’s personal observations.
CJC Canon 2(B) provides in part that judges should not allow relationships to influence their conduct or judgment. They should not lend the prestige of the judicial office to advance the private interests of others. Judges should not convey or permit others to convey the impression they are in a position to influence them. CJC Canon 4(A) provides that judges may participate in activities concerning the law, the legal system and the administration of justice if in doing so they do not cast doubt on their capacity to decide impartially any issue that comes before them.
|Courts | Organizations | News | Opinions | Rules | Forms | Directory | Library|
|Back to Top | Privacy and Disclaimer Notices|