September 23, 1993
The Honorable Joyce Williams Warren
Sixth Judicial District Chancery Court
3001 West Roosevelt Road - 2nd Floor
Little Rock, AR 72204
Re: Advisory Opinion #93-05
Dear Judge Warren:
You have inquired of this committee
whether service on the Board of Directors of Associated Marine
Institutes (AMI) is permitted under the Arkansas Code of Judicial
Conduct, adopted on July 5, 1993 by the Arkansas Supreme Court.
AMI is a non-profit organization
located in Florida. Under contract with the State of Arkansas, it
currently operates one residential program for juveniles who have been
designated "serious offenders". Upon a determination that an
individual is a serious offender, the juvenile court
"commits" the minor to the State Department of Human
Services. Independently of the juvenile judge, DHS then makes the
determination as to whether to place the juvenile in a residential
program and which program is most appropriate and available.
We conclude that:
1) AMI is not a governmental committee
or commission, and therefore the restrictions of Canon 4(C)(2) are not
applicable. In contrast the committee that was the subject of our
opinion #93-01 was an arm of the State of Arkansas. A mere contractual
relationship between relationship between a non-profit organization
and the State does not make the organization a governmental committee.
2) AMI falls, instead, within the scope
of Canon 4(C)(3) as "an educational, religious, charitable,
fraternal or civic organization not conducted for profit." A
judge is permitted to serve as the director of such an organization,
subject to the limitations of the Code.
As you recognize in your letter (and we
are compelled to express our gratitude for the thoroughness of your
letter and the research presented), you will not be permitted to
personally participate in solicitation of funds or other fund-raising
activities. Canon 4(C)(3)(b). Although apparently improbable, if the
organization were likely to become engaged in proceedings that would
ordinarily come before you, you would be compelled to withdraw as a
director. Canon 4(C)(3)(a).
3) Although judges are advised to avoid
activities that create the appearance of impropriety, judges are also
urged not to withdraw entirely from the community. See Commentary to
Canon 4(A). Judges are, on the contrary, specifically urged to offer
their expertise in appropriate to the improvement of criminal and
juvenile justice. See Commentary to Canon 4(B). We do not believe that
your service on the AMI Board would "create in reasonable minds a
perception that the judge's ability to carry out judicial
responsibilities with integrity, impartiality and competence is
impaired." Commentary to Canon 2(A).
It is the opinion of this committee
that your service on the Board of Directors of AMI would not violate
the Arkansas Code of Judicial Conduct.
For the Committee