J.P. CANDIDATE REQUIRED TO COMPLY WITH CODE
J.P. CANDIDATE MAY NOT ADVERTISE "J.P. WEDDINGS"
FORMER J.P. ADVERTISING "J.P. WEDDINGS"

Opinion No. 193 (1996)


QUESTION 1: May a former Justice of the Peace advertise "Justice of the Peace Weddings?"

ANSWER 1: The Committee on Judicial Ethics declines to answer this question. Such question concerns legal, rather than ethical, matters and does not come within the scope of the authority of this Committee. We act only as an advisory peer group in determining the application of the Code of Judicial Conduct to undisputed factual situations; we do not address legal questions.

QUESTION 2: Must a candidate for Justice of the Peace comply with the provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct?

ANSWER 2: Yes. Canon 6G(4) states that the conduct of "any other candidate for elective judicial office. . .who violates Canon 5 or other relevant provisions of the Code is subject to review by the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, or the local District Attorney for appropriate action." As contemplated by the Code, "any other candidate for elective judicial office" includes a candidate for Justice of the Peace.

QUESTION 3: Is it a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct for a candidate for Justice of the Peace who is a former Justice of the Peace to imply in his political advertising that he is a current Justice of the Peace?

ANSWER 3: Yes. Canon 5(2)(ii) provides that a judge or judicial candidate shall not "knowingly or recklessly misrepresent the identity, qualifications, present position, or other fact concerning the candidate or an opponent."

QUESTION 4: Is it a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct for a Justice of the Peace or candidate for Justice of the Peace to advertise "Justice of the Peace Weddings" in the telephone directory?

ANSWER 4: Yes. As noted in the answer to Question No. 2, a candidate for Justice of the Peace is subject to the Code of Judicial Conduct. In Opinion No. 72, we determined that a "judge who advertises for performance of weddings and charges fees for weddings violates the Code of Judicial Conduct." Such conduct violates Canon 4D(1), which provides, "A judge shall refrain from financial and business dealings that. . .exploit his or her judicial position. . . ."