Rule 1.3 of the Code states that a judge “shall not use or attempt to use the prestige of judicial office to advance the personal or economic interests of the judge or others or allow others to do so.” The Commentary to Rule 1.3 states, in relevant part, as follows:
(2) A judge may provide a reference or recommendation for an individual based on the judge’s personal knowledge. The judge may use official letterhead if the judge indicates that the reference is personal and if the use of the letterhead would not reasonably be perceived as an attempt to exert pressure by reason of judicial office.
Although the recommendation is in connection with government employment, the Committee holds the opinion that the proposed activity does not involve inappropriate political activity under Rule 4.1. Therefore, based upon the information provided and consistent with the Committee’s prior opinions, the Committee determined that the Judicial Official may provide a letter of recommendation to the Office of the Chief Public Defender, subject to the following conditions:
(1) The applicant is not a relative within the meaning of the Code or General Statutes § 51-39a;
(2) The recommendation should be based on the Judicial Official’s personal knowledge of the applicant’s qualifications and be specific to the position sought (see Rule 1.3 comment 2; JE 2008-26);
(3) If the recommendation is furnished in writing on official letterhead, the Judicial Official should indicate that the recommendation constitutes the Judicial Official’s personal opinion of the applicant’s qualifications (see Rule 1.3 comment 2); and
(4) If anticipated circumstances change such that the applicant appears before the Judicial Official within a reasonable period of time following the issuance of the recommendation, the Judicial Official should consider whether disclosure or disqualification may be warranted in accordance with Rule 2.11.