Opinion 109 (1987)

QUESTION: May a judge serve on a steering committee for an organization whose purpose is to effectuate the passage of a constitutional amendment giving certain rights to victims of crime?

ANSWER: Canon 4 of the Code of Judicial Conduct permits a judge to engage in activities to improve the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice provided that in doing so the judge does not cast doubt on his or her capacity to decide impartially any issue that may come before the court. Canon 4C permits a judge to serve as a member, officer, or director of an organization or governmental agency devoted to the same purposes stated in Canon 4.

A majority of the ethics committee is of the opinion that the purpose of the described steering committee is the improvement of the law, and that, subject to the limitations state in Canon 4, it would not be a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct for the judge to serve as a member of the steering committee.