May 14, 1986

Opinion 86/8
Re: Canon 4C

You inquire as to whether you may serve on the Board of Directors and/or Executive Board of Directors of the local D.U.I. (D.W.I.) Countermeasures Program/School. You wish to know whether service by you in the County Court Traffic Division, or the possibility of rotation into that division, would be a deciding factor. You point out that no taxes support the program because funding is limited to charges against offenders. You are not involved in fund-raising for the program. You mention that the program is mandated by statute and is therefore not discretionary with respect to the sentence to be imposed.

A majority of the responding members believe you should not serve, because such programs are more correctly sited in the Executive sphere of government and have little to do with improving the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice. (Canon 4C). Additionally, a majority of the members are concerned about the possibility that your court will hear cases involving defendants who do not satisfactorily complete the program. They do not believe it matters what division you are in.

Several prior opinions deal with the general subject of whether a judge's membership in a particular organization is permissible. Most of these Opinions turn on the interpretation of Canon 4C and 5G of the Standards of Conduct Governing Judges. The instant opinion may be considered as a retreat from Opinion 79/13. You may wish to view the following additional Opinions: 75/2, 73/6, 74/16, 73/4, 73/1, 77/13, 82/18 and 85/10.

Two members believe your service in this organization is not proscribed by the Canons. They view D.U.I. (D.W.I.) rehabilitation program (sic) as with (sic) the realm of improving the law. These two members commend you for your interest in pursuing this activity.

In summation, a majority of committee members agree that your participation in the D.U.I. (D.W.I.) Countermeasures Program/School is proscribed by the Canons of Conduct Governing Judges. Two members disagree with the majority.

With regards, sincerely,

Oliver L. Green, Jr.
Chairman