INSTRUCTION OF LAW OFFICERS ON CROSS-EXAMINATION

Opinion No. 66 (1983)


QUESTION: May a judge participate with law enforcement officers in the development and preparation of a program designed to inform law enforcement officers concerning possible pitfalls during cross-examination? The program would be sold to law enforcement agencies, but the title of "Judge" would not be used in connection with the program.

ANSWER: Several sections of the Code of Judicial Conduct speak to the problem. Canon 4A states: "[A judge] may speak, write, lecture, teach, and participate in other activities concerning law, the legal system, and the administration of justice."

Canon 5C(1) states:

"A judge should refrain from financial and business dealings that tend to reflect adversely on his [or her] impartiality, interfere with the proper performance of [the] judicial duties, exploit his [or her] judicial position, or involve [the judge] in frequent transactions with lawyers or persons likely to come before the court on which he [or she] serves."

Canon 6 states: "A judge may receive compensation and reimbursement of expenses for the quasi-judicial and extra-judicial activities permitted by the Code, if the source of such payments does not give the appearance of...impropriety."

The Committee is of the opinion that the Code of Judicial Conduct encourages a judge to write, lecture and teach on matters concerning law, the legal system, and the administration of justice. However, the program described in the question has the appearance of advocating particular results in certain kinds of cases and, as such, reflects adversely on the judge's appearance of impartiality.