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August 30, 2001

Philip A. Bagby
Attorney at Law
Bagby Law Firm
P. O. Box 766
Van Buren, AR 72957

RE: Advisory Opinion # 2001-05

Dear Attorney Bagby:

You have indicated to this committee that you intend to run for Circuit Judge in the general election of May 2002. You ask about the applicability of Canon 5C(2) of the Arkansas Code of Judicial Conduct in light of the adoption of Amendment 80 to the Arkansas Constitution.

Canon 5C(2) prohibits fundraising by the committee of a candidate prior to 180 days before a primary election. With the new amendment and implementing statutes, the general elections for judges have been moved from November to May. However, the Arkansas Supreme Court has not changed the language of the Code.

The intent of the Code provision was to place limits on the length of judicial campaigns. That intent applies also to non-partisan elections.

We have no authority to rewrite the Code or to temporarily suspend its operation. We note that the Court has in the past made quick changes in the Code, see for example, the Per Curiam of November 19, 1990, 303 Ark. 755 (nepotism), and the Per Curiam of May 30, 1995, 320 Ark. 715 (judicial stationery) and can certainly do so in this instance if it wishes.

It is our opinion that Canon 5C(2) is applicable and, therefore, fundraising may not begin until 180 days prior to the May 2002 election.


Howard W. Brill
for the Committee

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