May 13, 1986
Re: Canon 3C, 5B(1)
You have been requested to serve as Honorary Chairperson for a local organization known as "Students Against Drunk Drivers" (SADD). Basically, the organization has requested your assistance because of your support for their program and so they can draw upon the influence of your office. I quote excerpts from the correspondence sent to you by this organization, "In establishing our chapter we need a highly respectable and influential community member and leader""Being chairperson involves lending your name and promoting our program""We feel your notability would enhance our progress"
All but one responding committee member agrees that you should decline the invitation. Your acceptance would violate Canon 2B of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which provides that you should not lend the prestige of your office to advance the private interests of others; nor should you convey or authorize others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence you.
All but one responding member of the committee also believes your conduct might eventually involve Canon 3C which provides, "a judge should disqualify himself in a proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonable be questioned, including but not limited to instances where he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party." Otherwise, you may have to comply with Canon 3D with respect to disqualification from all drinking related cases which come before you.
I is also believed that this conduct may be proscribed by Canon 5B which provides, "a judge may participate in civic and charitable activities that do not reflect adversely upon his impartiality or interfere with the performance of his judicial duties."
Furthermore, it is entirely possible this group will take a great interest in judicial proceedings. This circumstance might involve Canon 5B(1) which provides, "a judge should not serve if it is likely that the organization will be engaged in proceedings that would ordinarily come before him or will be regularly engaged in adversary proceedings in any court."
You may wish to review Opinion 82/18. The member who believes your acceptance of this invitation would not be contrary to the Canons made specific reference to Opinion 82/18. A careful reading of that Opinion (Opinion 82/18) indicates that the majority vote of the committee was NOT supportive of certain comments reflecting the views of the chairman.
With regards, sincerely,
Oliver L. Green, Jr.