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Committee on Judicial Ethics
Instructions for Submitting a Request for an Opinion

 

A--General guidelines

1—Advisory opinion requests may be made by a judicial official, which includes any judge, senior judge, judge trial referee, family support magistrate and judicial or family support magistrate nominee. See Policy and Rules of the Committee (hereinafter, Policy & Rules) §§ 2.a, 4.a

2---Requests must relate to the interpretation of rules of court relating to the ethical and professional conduct of (a) the requesting judicial official, (b) someone subject to the requesting judicial official’s direction and control, (c) someone over whom the requesting judicial official exercises supervisory responsibility, or (d) a spouse or relative of the requesting judicial official. See Policy & Rules §§ 4.b, 5

3---Requests must pertain to contemplated or proposed future or continuing conduct and must not involve an issue that is presently pending before any court, agency, or commission. Judicial officials must notify the Secretary (see Paragraph B.1) immediately if the subject matter of the request becomes the subject of any such proceeding while the request is pending. See Policy & Rules § 4

4---Opinions are advisory only and are not binding on the judicial official, the Judicial Review Council, or any court. See Policy & Rules § 9

5--- Please consult the Policy & Rules for further information.

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B-- Requesting an Informal Opinion

1—A judicial official may make a request for an opinion by telephone to the Secretary to the Committee, Attorney Martin R. Libbin, by calling 860 706-5120.

2—The judicial official should provide all relevant facts bearing on the question on which the judicial official seeks advice. Include a statement that, to the best of the information and belief of the judicial official requesting the opinion, no issue raised thereby, whether in reference to the judicial official or to any other person, is presently pending before any court, agency or commission and, if it relates to past or current conduct, such conduct relates to future or continuing conduct. The Secretary may request additional information for the sake of clarification if the Committee or the Committee’s Chairperson so directs. See Policy & Rules § 4, 6

3—The Secretary will assign the judicial official a reference number and will make arrangements for further contact. This process is designed to provide confidentiality to the maximum extent possible. When the request is forwarded to the Committee, the Committee members will know only the opinion number. The name of the requesting judicial official will not be identified and the request will be presented without personal identifying information. See Policy & Rules § 4.e

4—The Secretary will present the request to the Committee promptly and the matter will be assigned by the Committee to be considered at a meeting at the earliest time possible consistent with the notice requirements. The Committee has adopted an emergency opinion procedure for situations in which there is insufficient time for standard notice.

5---The Secretary will telephone the judicial official promptly with the Committee’s opinion. The Secretary maintains a sequentially numbered record, by calendar year, of requests for informal opinions and the responses thereto, but does not include the name, reference number or personal identifying information about judicial officials that have requested an opinion from the Committee. When the Committee decides to publish summaries of advisory opinions for general guidance purposes, no personal identifying information will be included. See Policy & Rules § 4.e

6---The judicial official may request reconsideration of the opinion by the Committee within thirty days by advising the Secretary of the reconsideration request and basis for seeking reconsideration.

7---If the judicial official has requested an informal opinion, the judicial official may, at any time, request a formal opinion concerning the subject matter of the informal opinion by submitting a request in writing that complies with the requirements of section C, below. See Policy & Rules § 4.e

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C—Requesting a Formal Opinion

1---A judicial official may request a formal opinion by sending a letter, signed by the judicial official, directed to the Secretary at the following address:

Attorney Martin R. Libbin
Secretary, Judicial Ethics Committee
Superior Court Operations
100 Washington Street, 3rd floor
Hartford, CT 06106

2—The letter should include all relevant facts bearing on the question on which the judicial official seeks advice. The judicial official should include in the letter an affirmation that, to the best of the information and belief of the judicial official requesting the opinion, no issue raised thereby, whether in reference to the judicial official or to any other person, is presently pending before any court, agency or commission and, if it relates to past or current conduct, such conduct relates to future or continuing conduct. The Secretary may request additional information, to be submitted in writing, for the sake of clarification if the Committee or the Committee’s Chairperson so directs. See Policy & Rules § 4d, 6.

3—The advisory opinion will be rendered in writing to the requesting judicial official. See Policy & Rules § 6

4---The judicial official may request reconsideration of the opinion by the Committee within thirty days after distribution of the opinion. See Policy & Rules § 10 for further details.

5—The relevant procedures and rules pertaining to informal opinions apply in all other respects.

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Committee on Judicial Ethics

 

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