State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 92-14
May a district court judicial officer send a letter to local municipalities and other "funding" agencies which explains that: (1) many criminal defendants are ordered to enter alcohol and/or drug treatment programs as part of the sentences they receive for committing crimes; (2) a large percentage of these defendants are unable to pay for the increasing costs of such treatment and often are referred to nonprofit agencies which have a "sliding scales" for payment based upon a person's income; (3) there are only two nonprofit treatment agencies in the immediate vicinity of the court which routinely provide treatment in a "sliding scale" basis; (4) as the number of "no pay" and "low pay" clients increase, non-profit agencies will not be able to continue providing treatment to such individuals absent public financial support; and (5) urges the municipality and/or funding agency to continue its funding of the nonprofit agencies?
CJC Canon 4(B) provides that judges may consult with representatives from other branches of government in matters concerning the administration of justice. Therefore, a judicial officer may write a letter to local municipalities and public funding agencies urging continued funding to nonprofit agencies which furnish alcohol/drug treatment.
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