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Connecticut Committee on Judicial Ethics
Informal Opinion Summaries

2009-30 (Emergency Staff Opinion issued September 9, 2009)
Disclosure/Disqualification; Attorneys; Canon 2 & 3

Issue: (A) May a Judicial Official preside over a case where a party is represented by an attorney the Judicial Official has retained in the past for a personal matter and whose spouse retains on an ongoing, ad hoc basis? (B) Does the Judicial Official have a duty to disclose and/or recuse him/herself in a case involving an attorney with whom the Judicial Official and his/her immediate family have a close social relationship?

Emergency Staff Opinion: (A) The attorney’s ongoing, ad hoc representation of the Judicial Official’s spouse’s business makes recusal the proper action. Recusal, however, would not be necessary if a different attorney from the same firm were to handle the matter. (B) The close social relationship between the families of the Judicial Official and the attorney and the regular one-on-one social breakfasts requires recusal. Recusal would not be necessary if a different attorney from the same firm were to handle the matter. Should the Judicial Official decide not to accept the advice to recuse in either case, the Judicial Official would be well-advised to disclose the full range of contacts/relationships (past and present) with the attorney to all the parties involved and entertain any motion to recuse.

Committee on Judicial Ethics

 


 

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