Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, August 16, 2019


Page 4


Supreme Court Committee:

Assigned Judge Can’t Provide Legal Advice to Rotarians


By a MetNews Staff Writer


A retired judge who sometimes sits on assignment may not serve as a youth protection officer for the local Rotary International district, the Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions said in an opinion posted yesterday, summarizing oral advice it previously rendered.

The impediment to serving, the committee explained, was that duties included providing legal advice.

Third District Court of Appeal Justice Ronald B. Robie, who chairs the committee, said yesterday:

“As well-meaning as protecting Rotary youths might be, judges can’t give legal advice or allow their title to benefit others, and this includes retired judges in the Temporary Assigned Judges Program.”

The opinion declares:

“Extrajudicial service as a Rotary district youth protection officer is not permitted under the code where the qualifications for the position include legal experience and the duties of the position include providing advice about the law. Extrajudicial service as an officer of a chic organization is permitted so long as that service is as a nonlegal advisor. Practicing law. which includes providing legal advice, is prohibited for judicial officers, including retired judges active in the AJP. Judges are further prohibited from serving in civic organizations that will frequently be involved in adversary proceedings in the judge’s court.”

The opinion continues:

“The responsibilities of a Rotary district youth protection officer suggest the probability that such an officer will be called as a witness or participant in any proceedings involving the Rotary district’s youth programs or practices, which would compromise the appearance of impartiality and lend the prestige of judicial office if performed by a retired AJP judge primarily assigned to cases within the district. Finally. any participation by the judge in the role of district youth protection officer could impermissibly advance the interests of Rotary because of the judge’s title.”


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