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May 15, 2000

 

 

Honorable Vic Fleming
Little Rock Municipal Court (Second Division)
600 West Markham
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201

RE: Advisory Opinion # 2000-03

Dear Judge Fleming:

You have asked if a judge may write a letter to a sentencing judge at the request of the defendant, the defendant’s attorney, or someone on his or her behalf.

Canon 2(B) of the Arkansas Code of Judicial Conduct states:

"A judge shall not allow family, social, political or other relationships to influence the judge’s judicial conduct or judgment. A judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others; nor shall a judge convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge. A judge shall not testify voluntarily as a character witness."

Whenever a judge writes a letter to a sentencing judge such as you have suggested, it absolutely does lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interest of others, and therefore, we think that a judge should not write such letters. See, In re Judge Frank A.Marullo, Jr., No. 96-O-2222, 692 So.2d1019.

Very truly yours,

Edwin B. Alderson, Jr.

For the Committee

 

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