State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 93-14
When an appellate judge has retained an attorney, should that judge recuse himself/herself when another member of that law firm appears in court even though on a totally unrelated matter? Does it matter if the law firm is a large one, located in a large metropolitan area? Would the same advice be given for cases presently under consideration but not yet decided?
Does it make a difference if the property in question is the separate property of the judge's spouse and there are other parties on the same side?
CJC Canon 3(C) provides that judicial officers should disqualify themselves in a proceeding in which their impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
When an appellate court judge has retained an attorney, the appellate court judge is required to disclose that relationship when a member of that law firm appears in court on a totally unrelated matter and should recuse if there is any objection. This is also true for cases which are presently under consideration but not yet decided.
The size and location of the law firm, the fact that the property in question is the separate property of the spouse and the number of parties on the same side does not make any difference.
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