State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 87-03
May a part-time non-attorney municipal court judge serve on the municipality’s historic preservation commission?
Our answer to this question is premised on the following representations provided to the committee: 1) the historic preservation commission is established by municipal ordinance; 2) the major responsibility of the commission is to identify and actively encourage the conservation of the town’s resources; 3) historic property may receive a special valuation; and 4) appeals from these applications are considered by the Superior Court under RCW 84.26.130.
Based on these presentations it is proper under CJC Canon 5(B) for a judge to serve as a member of a municipal historic preservation commission subject to the limitation that 1) the judge should not serve if it is likely that the organization will be engaged in proceedings which would ordinarily come before the judge or regularly will be engaged in adversary proceedings in any court; 2) the judge should not solicit funds for the organization, or use or permit use of the judicial office for that purpose, nor should the judge be a speaker or guest of honor at any organization’s fundraising events; and 3) the judge should not give investment advice to the organization.
Even though it is proper for the judge to serve as a member of the historic preservation commission, the nature of the organization may change. Therefore, the judge must regularly reexamine such organization to ascertain the propriety of continuing to be associated with it.
Further, the judge should disclose the membership on the commission to any lawyers or parties involved in an action before the judge in which the judge’s impartiality or appearance thereof may reasonably be questioned as a result of association with the commission under CJC Canon 3(C), and the judge should also offer to withdraw from the case.
|Courts | Organizations | News | Opinions | Rules | Forms | Directory | Library|
|Back to Top | Privacy and Disclaimer Notices|