Public Comment Sought on Draft Judicial Ethics Advisory Opinion

The California Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinion (CJEO) invites the public to comment on a draft judicial ethics advisory opinion authorized by the committee. The draft opinion answers questions posed to the committee about the scope of permissible conduct when judges request assistance from attorneys concerning court budget cuts. The draft opinion provides guidance to judges under the California Code of Judicial Ethics, which establishes standards for ethical conduct for state judges on and off the bench and for candidates for judicial office.

The draft opinion and invitation to comment are posted on the California Courts website at http://www.courts.ca.gov/policyadmin-invitationstocomment.htm. The deadline for comment is December 19, 2012.

The committee was established by the Supreme Court to provide judicial ethics advisory opinions on topics of interest to the judiciary and members of the public (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 9.80(a)). The committee is authorized by the court to issue formal written opinions, informal written opinions, and oral advice on proper judicial conduct under the California Code of Judicial Ethics and other relevant sources (rule 9.80(e)(1)). In providing its advice and opinions, the committee acts independently of the Supreme Court, the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Judicial Council, the Administrative Office of the Courts, and all other entities (rule 9.80(b)). 

After considering the public’s comments on the draft opinion, the committee will decide whether or not to publish an opinion in final form.  Comments are due by December 19, 2012, and may be submitted in any of the following ways: 

• Online at http://www.courts.ca.gov/policyadmin-invitationstocomment.htm;
• By email to Judicial.Ethics@jud.ca.gov; or
• In writing to Ms. Nancy Black, Committee Counsel, The California Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions, 350 McAllister Street, San Francisco, California  94102.

The members of the Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions are Justice Ronald B. Robie of the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District (chair);  Justice Douglas P. Miller of the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Two (vice-chair); Justice Maria Rivera of the Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division Four; Judge John S. Wiley, Jr. of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County; Presiding Judge Suzanne N. Kingsbury of the Superior Court of  El Dorado County; Judge Kenneth K. So of the Superior Court of San Diego County; Judge George J. Abdallah, Jr. of the Superior Court of San Joaquin County; Commissioner Robert L. Broughton of the Superior Court of Contra Costa County; Justice Judith Ashmann-Gerst of the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Two; Judge Joanne B. O’Donnell of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County; and Judge Michael Garcia (Ret.) of the Superior Court of Sacramento County.