Opinion No. 185 (1996)

BACKGROUND: A luncheon is being held as part of a "Walk Out on Crime" weekend sponsored by the Citizens Crime Commission of Tarrant County. The speaker will be a nationally recognized expert on domestic terrorism and workplace violence. He will provide an overview of current activities in American cities and their implications for Tarrant County. The luncheon is one of many events of the weekend.

QUESTION: May a judge be on the host committee, attend the event, promote it within the community, and have her name on the invitation?

ANSWER: Yes. Canon 4 provides that a judge may participate in activities concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice so long as such participation does not cast doubt on her capacity to decide any issue that may come before the court.

It appears from the description of the luncheon that the focus of the Citizens Crime Commission is to explain problems that are facing the legal system and suggest possible solutions. The judge may be on the host committee, attend the luncheon, and allow her name on the invitation.

In promoting the luncheon, the judge should not lend the prestige of her office to advance the private interests of any vendors or others associated with the event as prohibited by Canon 2.

See also Opinions 82 and 163.