ACCEPTANCE BY COURT STAFF OF FAVORS

Opinion No. 140 (1991)


QUESTION 1: May a district judge allow a court administrator to participate in a group weekend trip that is sponsored, organized, and paid for by an attorney who practices before the judge?

ANSWER: No. Canon 5C(4)(c) provides that a judge should not accept favors from a person whose interests have come or are likely to come before the judge. Canon 3B(2) provides that a judge should require the judge's staff to observe the standards of the Code of Judicial Conduct. The Committee concludes that the trip inquired about would be inconsistent with these provisions.

QUESTION 2: May a district judge allow a court administrator to participate in such a trip if the court administrator pays all expenses involved?

ANSWER: The Committee concludes that a judge may allow such participation if the arrangements, social activities, and other circumstances do not reflect on the independence or impartiality of the court or its staff, or create the appearance of impropriety.