State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 95-19
May a judicial officer serve on the board which will facilitate the risk and resource assessment, implement a plan for communicating the assessment to the community at large and develop long-term prevention strategies for the city’s youth?
Community leaders have formed a prevention board made up of a diverse group of experts with a common commitment to youth. The Communities That Care model has been adopted by city leaders as the method of creating a comprehensive plan for addressing youth problems.
The process focuses on and addresses youth violence and other problem behaviors by reducing risks present in the community while exploring prevention strategies that have shown positive results. The process engages the members of the community from many sectors, cultures, ages, organizations and disciplines in the comprehensive, collaborative design of strategies and outcome measures.
For the purposes of this answer, it is assumed that this is a community based board and not an appointment to a governmental committee which is governed by CJC Canon 5(G).
Canon 5(B) permits a judicial officer to serve on the board which will facilitate the risk and resource assessment, implement a plan for communication the assessment to the community at large and develop long-term prevention strategies for the city’s youth if the board is unlikely to become involved in court proceedings and court policies. However, should the board consider matters or issues which would ordinarily come before the judicial officer’s court, the judicial officer must resign as a board member. Otherwise, the judicial officer would be required to constantly recuse when these matters come before the court. The judicial officer should periodically reexamine the activities of the board to determine that it is still proper to serve.
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