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March 16, 1995

The Honorable Stephen Choate
Circuit/Chancery Judge
P. O. Box 525
Heber Springs, AR 72543

Re: JEAC #95-3

Dear Judge Choate:

Gateway Technical College is a public institution, and with that information added to your opinion request we conclude that Canon 4C(2) of the Code of Judicial Conduct is the governing standard to your request, viz:

4C(2). A judge shall not accept appointment to a government committee or commission, or other governmental position that is concerned with issues of fact or policy on matters other than the improvement of the law.

The Commentary to this provision specifically states that a judge shall not serve on the board of a public educational institution (unless it is a law school). Your question is whether you may serve on an Advisory Committee, as opposed to a governing board. The Advisory Committee Handbook of this institution which you attached to your letter to us, and which details the activities of this Committee upon which you have been invited to serve as a member, suggests that its role is to recommend changes in the college curriculum, assist in planning, and generally offer suggestions to the college authority. Although political activity is not anticipated, support of the program at the local level may be.

We view the activities of this Advisory Committee, as described, as falling under the provisions of Canon 4C(3) in that it is more educational and less governmental. If you are able to satisfy the limitations set out in Canon 4C(3) we find no Canon barrier to your serving on this Committee, as described.

Yours very truly,


Bruce T. Bullion

for the Committee

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