March 15, 1999
Lonoke Municipal Court Judge
118 North Center Street
P.O. Box 500
Lonoke, Arkansas 72086
Re: Advisory Opinion # 99-01
Dear Judge Kelly:
You have asked the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee for an
advisory opinion relative to your representation of Mr. Chad Long.
Your letter states that you are Municipal Judge of Lonoke; that Mr.
Chad Long and Mrs. Kelly Long divorced in September of 1998, by decree
ordering joint custody of their children. On December 1997, Mr. Long
charged Mrs. Long with harassing communications in a criminal case in
Lonoke Municipal Court. Your issued the warrant. On November 11, 1998,
the parties appeared before you with their respective counsel and
announced that they had agreed, with the concurrence of the
prosecuting attorney, that the case would be held in abeyance for
twelve (12) months and then dismissed, barring further problems.
Though you have no recollection of doing so, you made a docket entry
to that effect.
On January 15, last, you were retained as a practicing attorney by
Mr. Long in connection with a motion for a change of custody in the
divorce proceeding. At a hearing on February 8, Mrs. Long asserted
that you had a conflict of interest and filed a motion for your
disqualification as counsel for Mr. Long. The motion is pending before
the chancellor, who is, you state, awaiting an opinion from this
We must decline to render an advisory opinion as requested. Your
representation of Mr. Long is a past event, having occurred on January
15, 1999. The procedural rules governing this Committee provide that
advisory opinions "shall relate to prospective conduct only"
and "shall address only whether an intended, future course of
conduct violates the Arkansas Code of Judicial Conduct". Beyond
that, a motion for disqualification is pending in the Lonoke Chancery
Court, and it would be inappropriate for this Committee to render an
advisory opinion in that context.
Yours very truly,
For the Committee