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December 16, 2003


Honorable Bynum Gibson, Jr.
Circuit Court Judge
Drew County Courthouse
210 S. Main Street
Monticello, Arkansas 71655

RE: Advisory Opinion 2003-04

Dear Judge Gibson:

In your capacity as chairman of the Judicial Council legislative committee, you have asked whether hosting a dinner for members of the Arkansas House and Senate Judiciary Committee would violate the Code of Judicial Conduct. It is our understanding that the stated purpose of the dinner is to introduce to the Legislators the Judicial Council’s president elect as well as to discuss legislative issues of interest to the Judiciary at large.

Canon 4B provides that a judge may participate in extra-judicial activities concerning the legal system and the administration of justice, subject to the requirements of the Code.

Canon 4C(1) further provides that a judge shall not appear before a legislative body or official except on matters concerning the law, the legal system or the administration of justice.

It is the opinion of the Committee that the hosting of a dinner for the House and Senate members for the purposes stated does not violate Canon 4. Under the Commentary to Canon 4B it is pointed out that a judge is in a unique position to contribute to the improvement of the legal system and is encouraged to do so, either independently or through an organization such as the Judicial Council. The hosting of a dinner with the legislators whereby matters pertaining to the judicial system may be informally discussed is in the interest of the administration of justice and is permissible under the Code of Judicial Conduct.


For the Committee,


David B. Bogard

 

 

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