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Connecticut Committee on Judicial Ethics
Informal Opinion Summaries

2010-06 (March 2, 2010)
Attorneys; Reporting Misconduct; Canons 1, 2 & 3

Issue: Does a Judicial Official have a duty to report unprofessional conduct of an out-of-state attorney who testified under oath in a Connecticut case that the attorney had commingled funds in the attorney’s single law office account which he holds in a state in which commingling of funds is an ethical violation and, if so, how the Judicial Official should report the misconduct?

Response: Based upon the information provided, the Committee members unanimously determined that the Judicial Official should report the misconduct. Commingling of funds is an ethical violation in Connecticut and in the jurisdiction in which the attorney maintains an office. The Judicial Official’s duty to report such conduct is based upon the requirements in Canon 1 (a judge should participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing, and should observe, high standards of conduct), Canon 2(a) (a judge should respect and comply with the law and should act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary), and Canon 3(b)(3) (a judge should take or initiate appropriate measures against a judge or lawyer for unprofessional conduct of which the judge may become aware). The Commentary to Canon 3(b)(3) states that a judge may report a lawyer’s misconduct to an appropriate authority. The Committee noted that a commonly used method to report misconduct that occurs on the record is to forward a copy of a transcript to the appropriate disciplinary authority with a cover letter noting that the matter is being referred for such consideration as the disciplinary authority deems appropriate. However, the Judicial Official may report the misconduct to the appropriate authority in any manner that he/she determines is appropriate under the circumstances. 

Committee on Judicial Ethics

 


 

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