Opinion 77-7

March 31, 1977

Re: Canon 5B

Dear Judge:

This is in response to your inquiry which related that for many years prior to becoming a member of the judiciary, you were general counsel to a statewide non-profit organization of person involved in a particular business and that, as in years past, you have been invited

"to be the moderator of a panel designed to discuss and respond to questions with respect to the status of the law in the same general areas to which [you] devoted much of [your] time as general counsel."

You indicate that you anticipate receiving reimbursement for actual expenses and "a modest honorarium in an amount comparable" to the amount you would have received had you not been a judge and that no effort will be made of use the prestige of your office to advance the association.

With some reservation, the Committee is of the opinion that the above described activity would not conflict with the Code of Judicial Conduct. Canon 4A and Canon 5A both permit your appearance before a convention in the capacity of moderator. However, four of the members of this Committee caution that a judge should be careful to avoid speculation on what the law should be or to participate in such a manner as to be giving "legal advice". all of which is proscribed by Canon 5C(2).

The acceptance of an honorarium and expense money was unanimously approved by the Committee, with a caveat that the amount and circumstances should be reported pursuant to Canon 6.

Sincerely yours,

Tyrie A. Boyer, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges


Participating members: Judge James T. Carlisle, Judge Robert M. Haverfield, Judge Robert S. Hewitt, Judge Gerald Mager, Judge John A. H. Murphee, Judge Wallace Sample and Judge Gunter Stephenson.