Receded from in Opinion 00-34

Opinion 78-16

June 26, 1978

Dear Judge:

The Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges acknowledges receipt of your recent inquiry. As we understand the facts and inquiry, you are one of the payees (though not so named) of a promissory not secured by a purchase money mortgage executed by the current shareholders of a professional association of which you were a member at the time you ascended to the bench, in favor of trustees who hold for you and others; your fractional interest being 90/422. Your interest in the building and property which is the security for the purchase money mortgage was initially acquired by virtue of your stock in a corporate holding company which was formed for the sole purpose of owning the property and leasing it to the law firm of which you were then a member. The makers of the promissory note have no personal liability, the property secured by the purchase money mortgage being the sole security for the payment of the note. The persons who have executed the note and mortgage (all in their capacities as partners) are the same persons who are the current shareholders in the professional association of which you were formerly a member. You have no interest in either the partnership not the professional association, your sole interest (for the purpose of the subject inquiry) being the fractional interest in the note secured by the purchase money mortgage. We further understand that you have been separated from the subject law firm since you ascended to the bench which was approximately eighteen months ago.

Bases upon the above factual situation, we understand your query to be whether it is necessary for you to recuse yourself in cases in which the members of the law firm of which you were formerly a member represent one of more of the litigants.

The participating members of the Committee are unanimously in the view that it is not necessary for you to so recuse yourself on account of the facts hereinabove outlined. You should, however, recuse yourself from participating in any case which was being handled by any member of the firm during the time that you were in fact a member of the firm. We have considered similar queries by our prior opinions 74-4; 75-7 and 77-11.

Sincerely yours,

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


Participating members: Judges Boyer, Carlisle, Haverfield, Hewitt, Letts, Murphree, O'Connell, Stephenson, Turner and Samuel J. Powers, Attorney