State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 91-06
To what extent does the Code of Judicial Conduct require recusal of a judicial officer in cases which are argued by attorneys who are associated with the law firm of the judicial officer's child?
CJC Canon 3(C)(1)(d)(ii) states that a judge should not sit in any proceeding in which the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including proceedings in which a relative is acting as a lawyer in the proceeding. The comment to that provision states that the fact that a lawyer in a proceeding is affiliated with a law firm with which a lawyer-relative of the judge is affiliated does not of itself disqualify the judge. However, if there are other facts which would lead reasonable persons to question the impartiality of the judge, the judge should withdraw. The relationship should in any event be disclosed under the general provisions of CJC Canon 2 to allow parties to intelligently exercise their right to file an affidavit of prejudice.
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