Honorable Bynum Gibson, Jr.
Circuit Court Judge
Drew County Courthouse
210 S. Main Street
Monticello, Arkansas 71655
RE: Advisory Opinion
Dear Judge Gibson:
In your capacity
as chairman of the Judicial Council legislative committee, you
have asked whether hosting a dinner for members of the Arkansas
House and Senate Judiciary Committee would violate the Code
of Judicial Conduct. It is our understanding that the stated
purpose of the dinner is to introduce to the Legislators the
Judicial Council’s president elect as well as to discuss
legislative issues of interest to the Judiciary at large.
Canon 4B provides
that a judge may participate in extra-judicial activities concerning
the legal system and the administration of justice, subject
to the requirements of the Code.
Canon 4C(1) further
provides that a judge shall not appear before a legislative
body or official except on matters concerning the law, the legal
system or the administration of justice.
It is the opinion
of the Committee that the hosting of a dinner for the House
and Senate members for the purposes stated does not violate
Canon 4. Under the Commentary to Canon 4B it is pointed out
that a judge is in a unique position to contribute to the improvement
of the legal system and is encouraged to do so, either independently
or through an organization such as the Judicial Council. The
hosting of a dinner with the legislators whereby matters pertaining
to the judicial system may be informally discussed is in the
interest of the administration of justice and is permissible
under the Code of Judicial Conduct.
For the Committee,
David B. Bogard