NEPOTISM

Opinion No. 1 (1975)


QUESTION: Would the appointment to represent indigent defendants by a district judge of his grandnephew, related to the judge in the fourth degree of consanguinity, constitute nepotism in violation of Canon 3, Section B(4) of the Code of Judicial Conduct?

ANSWER: It is the opinion of the Committee that the appointment of a grandnephew, related to the district judge in the fourth degree of consanguinity, would not be nepotism in violation of Canon 3, Section B(4) of the Code of Judicial Conduct. [NOTE: The Texas Atty. Gen. has ruled that "a district judge may not appoint his grandnephew to represent an indigent defendant if the appointed counsel is to be compensated in any manner from public funds." In the opinion (LA No. 11), Atty. Gen. John Hill determined that the grandnephew was related in the third degree of consanguinity and thus the appointment is proscribed by the terms of Article 5996a, V.T.C.S. The Ethics Committee opinion was delivered in the May meeting. The Committee, in its July meeting, voted not to reconsider its opinion.]