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Connecticut Committee on Judicial Ethics
Informal Opinion Summaries

2009-29 (September 16, 2009)
Educational Activities; Canons 2 & 4

Issue: May a Judicial Official appear in an Executive Branch agency’s employment recruitment video?
Response: A Judicial Official has been asked to appear in a Department of Children and Families’ “job preview” video. The purpose of the video is to improve recruitment and retention of social workers by providing candidates with a realistic overview of a social worker’s expectations. The Department has asked the Judicial Official to appear in the video to speak about the judge’s expectations of social workers, the role social workers play in the legal process, and the impact they have on cases.

Based on the information provided, the participating Committee members determined that it is ethically permissible for the Judicial Official to participate in the DCF recruitment video, subject to the following conditions: (1) the filming/appearance does not interfere with the proper performance of the Judicial Official’s official duties, nor create grounds upon which the Judicial Official may have to recuse him/herself, (2) the Judicial Official does not give opinions that would cast doubt on the Judicial Official’s impartiality or indicate that the Judicial Official has a predisposition with respect to a particular case, (3) the presentation is factual and instructive and does not contain any comment about pending or impending matters, (4) the Judicial Official does not offer legal advice as to how social workers should handle specific matters or provide guidance regarding the social workers’ appearance in his/her court, (5) the Judicial Official retains the right to review the content of the script and approve that portion pertaining to him/her, and (6) the Judicial Official retains the right to review any biographical information that may be published in connection with the release of the video.

Committee on Judicial Ethics



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