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Connecticut Committee on Judicial Ethics
Informal Opinion Summaries

2010-15 (June 3, 2010)
Writing; Disclosure/Disqualification
Canons 2, 3 & 4

Issue: May a Judicial Official author a foreword to a book written by a police officer on the subject of child safety and the Internet? The Judicial Official has been requested to write the foreword because of his/her association with the author in the course of the Judicial Official’s work in the field of law enforcement prior to the Judicial Official’s becoming a judge, and the Judicial Official plans to reference this past experience and association with the author but not to identify his/her current judicial position in the foreword to the book.

Based upon the facts presented, the Committee unanimously concluded that the Judicial Official may author the foreword subject to the following conditions:

  1. The Judicial Official should maintain editorial control over the content of the foreword and should retain the right to review any biographical
    information that may be published in connection with the book even though in this case his/her official title will not appear in the book;
  2. The Judicial Official should review the entire contents of the book and satisfy him/herself that authoring a foreword to the book would not cast doubt on his/her impartiality in future cases or reflect a predisposition with respect to particular cases or issues or regarding any party or witness that may appear before the Judicial Official; and
  3. In accordance with the obligations of Canons 2 & 3, if the author appears as a party or witness before the Judicial Official or if the Judicial Official presides over a case concerning the subject matter of the book, the Judicial Official should disclose that he or she wrote the foreword and what it states. Thereafter, if a party requests that the Judicial Official recuse himself or herself, the Judicial Official, after considering the facts, law and argument of counsel, must exercise his or her discretion in deciding whether to grant the motion. Issues to consider in determining such a recusal motion, include, but are not necessarily limited to, the nature of the proceeding or docket, whether reference to or reliance upon the book is foreseeable, whether the Judicial Official is the sole decision maker (i.e. whether the matter is to the court or a jury) and whether self-represented parties or lawyers are involved.

Committee on Judicial Ethics

 


 

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