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July 28, 1992




Honorable Bob Shepherd
Circuit and Chancery Judge
Union County Courthouse
El Dorado, AR 71730

RE: Advisory Opinion No. 92-04

Dear Judge Shepherd,

In your request for an advisory opinion you stated that you were a Circuit and Chancery Judge with primary responsibility as Judge of the Juvenile Division of Chancery Court. You asked if your serving in the evening as a referee or official officiating junior and senior high school football games in the area of the State in which you reside and accepting compensation at less than $50.00 per game would violate the Arkansas Code of Judicial Conduct. You stated that to the best of your recollection no area school district has been party to any case over which you have presided but that this could occur in the future.

Canon 3 states that the judicial duties of a judge take precedence over all his other activities and Canon 5A provides that a judge may engage in numerous activities, including sports so long as such activities do not detract from the dignity of his office or interfere with the performance of his judicial duties. Canon 6 provides that a judge may receive compensation and reimbursement of expenses for extra-judicial activities permitted by the Code provided such compensation is reasonable and does not exceed what a person who is not a judge would receive for the same activity.

Judges can not and should not live a secluded life away from the society he or she serves. We believe that principled participation in activities such as you have described constitute the kind of extra-judicial conduct that if properly carried out have the potential of enhancing the image of the judiciary. It is our opinion that if you engaged in the proposed activities under the circumstances as described you would not be in violation of the Code.

Very truly yours,

 

James A. Badami, on behalf of the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee

Note: Committee member Howard Brill did not participate.

 

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