PASSING OUT BUSINESS CARDS OF THE
HARRIS COUNTY CRIMINAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION

Opinion No. 174 (1994)


QUESTION: Does the Code allow a judge to give to unrepresented criminal defendants business cards of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association?


*All Canon references are to the Code of Judicial Conduct effective March 1, 1994.

ANSWER: The Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association is a private and voluntary organization of criminal defense attorneys. The organization has asked district and county court judges to provide unrepresented defendants with a business card urging the defendant to call the association for referral to a lawyer among its members.

Canon 2B states that a judge should not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of others, nor shall a judge convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge. The Committee concludes that by presenting the association's business card, the judge would be advancing the private interests of the association and its members, in violation of Canon 2B.