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Connecticut Committee on Judicial Ethics
Informal Opinion Summaries

2009-33 (November 6, 2009)
Civic Activities; Service on Board; Canons 2 & 5

Issue: May a Judicial Official serve on the Advisory Board of a program devoted to refugee and immigrant services, including resettlement, job assistance, case management, education and immigration legal services? The program is operated under the auspices of a religious entity by means of the Board of Directors of its social services organization.

Response: On the facts presented, including that the organization’s staff regularly provides legal representation to persons with matters before federal agencies and the Immigration Court, the Committee unanimously concluded that the Judicial Official may not accept the appointment to the Advisory Board. Service on the Advisory Board would contravene the proscription contained in Connecticut’s current Canon 5 (b) (1) that a judge not serve as an officer, director, trustee or nonlegal advisor of an educational, religious, charitable, fraternal or civic organization not conducted for the economic or political advantage of its members “if it is likely that the organization will be engaged in proceedings that would ordinarily come before the judge or will be regularly engaged in adversary proceedings in any court.” The term “any court” includes courts outside the Connecticut judicial system. This Committee has previously decided that the foregoing proscription applies regardless of whether the organization is a litigant or is providing legal representation to a litigant. See Formal Opinion 2009-10. Since the organization regularly represents clients in Immigration Court, the Judicial Official is prohibited from serving on the Advisory Board.

Committee on Judicial Ethics



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