State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 96-03
May a judicial officer join the board of trustees of a crisis clinic?
The judicial officer sits as a district court judge. The crisis clinic is a non-profit organization which provides crisis intervention, information and referral services in the county. The duties of the board extend beyond fundraising.
Although the crisis clinic board has not actively taken a position on the assisted suicide legislation before the legislature, such a statute, if it were to become law, should not arise before the district court given its jurisdictional limits.
CJC Canon 5(B) permits a judicial officer to participate in charitable activities that do not reflect adversely upon their impartiality or interfere with the performance of their judicial duties. Therefore, a judicial officer may serve on the board of a crisis clinic provided that the judicial officer does not participate in fundraising activities.
The judicial officer should periodically reexamine the activities of the board to determine that it is still proper to serve.
Also see Opinions 90-10, 92-8, 93-6, 93-19, 95-5 and 95-19. All of these opinions address involvement in extrajudicial activities.
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