Opinion 76-13

August 16, 1976

Re: Canon 3C

Dear Judge:


This is in response to your recent letter inquiring whether the Code of Judicial Conduct would require you to disqualify yourself as a judge in those cases involving the law firm which has provided summer employment for your son.

You indicate that your son is presently a senior in under-graduate school and has been employed for the summer by a law firm which apparently appears before your court. You further indicate that your son's duties would be to assist this firm in moving into new offices and to perform other nondiscretionary chores. In particular, you specifically indicate that your son will not participate in legal matters.

The Committee has reviewed your inquiry in light of Canon 3C, Code of Judicial Conduct, which sets forth with particularity those circumstances and specific instances in which a judge must disqualify himself in a proceeding. A majority of the Committee (7-1) is of the opinion that Canon 3C would not, under the fact and circumstances outlined in your letter, require your disqualification and that there would be no impropriety in your hearing cases in which the particular law firm is involved.

One member of the committee, however, was of the opinion that you should disqualify yourself, or as an alternative, to advise all counsel in cases in which your son's employers are counsel to ascertain whether there would be any objections.

We appreciate your interest and trust the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Sincerely,


Gerald Mager


Chairman, Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges

GM/cs

Participating members: Boyer, Hewitt, Mason, Murphee, O'Connell, Stephenson and Thomas MacDonald, Esquire