State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 95-17
May a court appoint a nonjudicial officer to represent the court on the Community Public Health and Safety Network established pursuant to RCW 70.190?
The Ethics Advisory Committee issued Opinion 95-4 which held that judicial officers may not serve on community networks because CJC Canon 5(G) prohibits a judicial officer from accepting appointment to a governmental position that is concerned with issues of fact or policy on matters other than the improvement of the law, the legal system or the administration of justice.
A presiding judge has asked whether the court would be permitted to appoint a nonjudicial officer to represent the court on the network.
A court may not appoint a nonjudicial officer to represent the court on the Community Public Health and Safety Network. CJC Canon 2(A) requires that judicial officers conduct themselves at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. If a judicial officer appointed a nonjudicial officer as the court’s representative to the community network it could undermine the public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary and reflect adversely on the judicial office.
A nonjudicial court employee may however be appointed directly by the network and may participate in a private capacity if it is clear that the service is in a personal capacity only and not as a representative of the court.
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