State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 91-03
Is it proper for a District Court to appoint a lawyer who is currently employed as an assistant Attorney General and whose work with that office consists of prosecuting civil commitment cases pursuant to the Community Protection Act to sit as a pro tem judge in that District Court?
Would the opinion be different if that lawyer's prior employment was as a deputy prosecuting attorney, and the first year of that service was in the District Court to which the pro tem appointment will be made?
The Code of Judicial Conduct does not prohibit a District Court judge from appointing an assistant attorney general or former deputy prosecuting attorney to serve as a pro tem judge. However, there may be instances in which it would be appropriate for the pro tem judge to disclose to the parties and their attorneys the present or former employment relationships if a reasonable person would feel that it is relevant to the issue of disqualification.
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