State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 85-05
Is it proper for a judge to serve as a member of an advisory council established by the major newspaper published in the county in which the judge sits?
The answer to this question is premised on the following representations provided to the committee: 1) the judge would be one of 24 members serving on a newspaper’s advisory council which provides a forum for discussing the newspaper readers’ needs; 2) the council will focus on why the newspapers cover court proceedings in a certain way as well as more general topics of concern to the press and may include questions involving the newspapers is rare but has occurred; however, the press’s actual appearance in court is broader because of accessibility issues.
Based on these representations, it is not proper under CJC Canon 2(B) for a judge to serve on a newspaper’s advisory council since it may create the appearance of partiality and lend the prestige of the office to advance the private interests of others.
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