State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 94-11
Do WA const. art. IV, sec. 13. RCW 36.17.010, RCW 42.20.010 and RCW 42.52.110 preclude judges from receiving fees for solemnizing marriages which are performed outside of regular court hours?
CJC Canon 5(C)(8) provides in part that judges may accept compensation for the solemnization of marriages, performed outside of regular court hours.
WA const. art. IV, sec. 13 provides in pertinent part that no judicial officer shall receive to his use any fees or perquisites of office.
RCW 26.04.050 provides in part that judges are authorized to solemnize marriages.
RCW 36.17.010 provides in part that county officers shall receive a salary for the services required of them by law, or by virtue of their office, which salary shall be full compensation for all services of every kind and description rendered to them.
RCW 42.20.010 provides in part that any public officer who receives any compensation for omitting or deferring the performance of an official duty, or for any official service which has not been actually rendered, except in case of charges for prospective costs or fees demandable in advance in a case allowed by law, is guilty of misconduct.
RCW 42.52.110 provides in part that no state officer may, directly or indirectly, ask for or receive any compensation from a source other than the state for performing any official duty, except as authorized by law. (Effective January 1, 1995)
The authorities cited herein do not prohibit a judicial officer from accepting compensation for the solemnization of marriages which are performed outside of regular court hours. These statutes prohibit additional compensation for the performance of official duties. The solemnization of marriages is not an official duty. It is a power conferred on judicial officers by RCW 26.04.050.
See Opinions 90-5, 91-14 and 93-30.
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