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March 31, 1998

 

 

Jay C. Miner, Esq.
Route 4 Box 13A
Eureka Springs, Arkansas 72632

RE: Advisory Opinion # 98-01

Dear Mr. Miner:

In your request for an opinion dated March 5, 1998, you stated that you are a candidate for judicial office. You indicated that you plan to standardize plea agreements for the Counties that you will serve. You mentioned that you plan to require convicted offenders to obtain a GED, perform public service, observe a curfew, and to attend counseling if necessary, and that you wish to inform the electorate that you would make these changes if elected.

Canon 5 A (3) (d) of the Code of Judicial Conduct provides in part as follows:

(3) A candidate for a judicial office: (d) shall not:

(i) make pledges or promises of conduct in office other than the faithful and impartial performance of the duties of the office;

(ii) make statements that commit or appear to commit the candidate with respect to cases, controversies or issues that are likely to come before the court; or

The Commentary sections states, in part, "Section 5A(3)(d) does not prohibit a candidate from making pledges or promises respecting improvements in court administration".

It is our opinion that you may announce that you will make improvements in the court administration by requiring that forms used throughout the district to be uniform and consistent. You should not, however, state the specific terms that you would consider incorporating into the plea agreement. You may, however, make general statements about your ideas concerning rehabilitation and the importance of education, public service, counseling, and strict rules of conduct with regard to those persons on probation.

Very truly yours,

 

Edwin Alderson

For the Committee

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