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April 16, 1997




Honorable Robert L. Brown
Associate Justice Supreme Court of Arkansas
Justice Building
625 Marshall Street
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201


Re: Advisory Opinion # 97-01


Dear Justice Brown:

You have asked the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee if it is appropriate for you to write a letter of recommendation for a prospective candidate for a federal judicial appointment, or must you wait to respond to an official inquiry concerning the person being considered.

Canon 2 (B) of the Code of Judicial Conduct provides:

A judge shall not allow family, social, political, or other relationships to influence the judge's judicial conduct or judgment. A judge shall   not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others; nor shall a judge convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge. A judge shall not testify voluntarily as a character witness.

The pertinent commentary states that a judge should be sensitive to possible abuse of the prestige of office, but may, based on personal knowledge, serve as a reference or provide a letter of recommendation. 

Assuming that you have adequate knowledge of the character and capabilities of the subject individual and are satisfied that there is no undue intent to capitalize on the prestige of your judicial office, it is the opinion of the Committee that it would not be improper for you to write the recommendation contemplated by your letter.


Yours very truly,


Steele Hays

For the Committee

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