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Connecticut Committee on Judicial Ethics
Informal Opinion Summaries

2009-21 (July 1, 2009)
Ex Parte Communication; Attorney Conflict; Appearance of Impropriety; Disclosure/Disqualification; Reporting Misconduct; Canons 2 & 3; C.G.S. §§ 51-39 & 51-84; P.B § 2-44; and Rule 3.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct

Issue: May a Judicial Official, who received an ex parte letter that was highly critical of the Judicial Official from an attorney whose client the Judicial Official had ruled against on a motion, continue to preside over another case in which the attorney is representing a different client and, if so, does the Judicial Official have a duty to inform the client in the second case of the attorney’s conduct in the first case. The Judicial Official stated that he or she did not harbor any hard feelings toward the attorney.

Response: The Committee unanimously agreed that the Judicial Official may continue to preside over the second case. Following extended discussion, the Committee unanimously agreed that there is no ethical requirement to notify the client in the second case of the attorney’s conduct in the first case; however, as a matter of prudence, the Judicial Official should consider disclosing the attorney’s conduct, particularly if the attorney continues to represent the client in the second matter. The Judicial Official did not inquire, and therefore the Committee did not address, whether the Judicial Official should report the conduct of the attorney to the client or opposing counsel in the first case or whether the Judicial Official had a duty to take or initiate appropriate disciplinary measures against the attorney for the ex parte communication.

Committee on Judicial Ethics

 


 

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