State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 95-08
May a judicial officer accept an invitation from Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) to speak at the annual MADD/DUI Top Cop Award presentation?
The letter inviting the judicial officer to speak states that the judicial officer is being invited because as the district court judge the judicial officer presides over DUI cases.
The ceremony will recognize the patrol officer from each of the county law enforcement agencies who issued the most DUI citations last year. The county chapter of MADD would pick up the cost of the judge’s meal.
CJC Canon 2(A) provides that judges should conduct themselves at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. CJC Canon 4(A) provides in part that judges may participate in activities to improve the law, the legal system and the administration of justice, if in so doing they do not cast doubt upon their impartiality to decide any issue that may come before them. CJC Canon 5(B) provides that judges may participate in civic and charitable activities that do not reflect adversely upon their impartiality or interfere with the performance of their judicial duties.
Because attendance at the dinner sponsored by MADD, honoring law enforcement officers who issued the most DUI citations last year, would reflect adversely upon the judicial officer’s impartiality to adjudicate DUI cases and interfere with the performance of judicial duties, the judicial officer should not accept the invitation to speak at that event.
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