The Alaska Legal Resource Center

Code of Conduct
for Judicial Employees

Copyright 1995, 1996, 1997 Touch N' Go Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Presented by Touch N' Go Systems, Inc., and the Law Offices of James B. Gottstein

*Go to the Introduction to the Code of Conduct for Judicial Employees.

Effective January 1, 1996


CANON 1:            A JUDICIAL EMPLOYEE SHOULD UPHOLD THE
               INTEGRITY AND INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY AND OF
               THE JUDICIAL EMPLOYEE'S OFFICE

     An independent and honorable Judiciary is indispensable to
justice in our society.  A judicial employee should personally
observe high standards of conduct so that the integrity and
independence of the Judiciary are preserved and the judicialorder, or by the appointing authority.

CANON 2:            A JUDICIAL EMPLOYEE SHOULD AVOID IMPROPRIETY
               AND THE APPEARANCE OF IMPROPRIETY IN ALL
               ACTIVITIES

     A judicial employee should not engage in any activities that
would put into question the propriety of the judicial employee's
conduct in carrying out the duties of the office.  A judicial
employee should not allow family, social, or other relationships
to influence official conduct or judgment.  A judicial employee
should not lend the prestige of the office to advance or to
appear to advance the private interests of others.  A judicial
employee should not use public office for private gain.

CANON 3:            A JUDICIAL EMPLOYEE SHOULD ADHERE TO
               APPROPRIATE STANDARDS IN PERFORMING THE DUTIES OF
               THE OFFICE

     In performing the duties prescribed by law, by resolution of
the Judicial Conference of the United States, by court order, or
by the judicial employee's appointing authority, the following
employee's office reflects a devotion to serving the public.
Judicial employees should require adherence to such standards by
personnel subject to their direction and control.  The provisions
of this code should be construed and applied to further these
objectives.  The standards of this code shall not affect or
preclude other more stringent standards required by law, by court
standards apply:

A.   A judicial employee should respect and comply with the law
     and these canons.  A judicial employee should report to the
     appropriate supervising authority any attempt to induce the
     judicial employee to violate these canons.

     Note:  A number of criminal statutes of general
     applicability govern federal employees' performance of
     official duties.  These include:

               18 U.S.C.  201 (bribery of public officials and
          witnesses);

               18 U.S.C.  211 (acceptance or
          solicitation to obtain appointive public
          office);

               18 U.S.C.  285 (taking or using papers relating
          to government claims);

               18 U.S.C.  287 (false, fictitious, or fraudulent
          claims against the government);

               18 U.S.C.  508 (counterfeiting or forging
          transportation requests);

               18 U.S.C.  641 (embezzlement or conversion of
          government money, property, or records);

               18 U.S.C.  643 (failing to account for public
          money);

               18 U.S.C.  798 and 50 U.S.C.  783 (disclosure of
          classified information);

               18 U.S.C.  1001 (fraud or false statements in a
          government matter);

               18 U.S.C.  1719 (misuse of franking privilege);

               18 U.S.C.  2071 (concealing, removing, or
          mutilating a public record);


               31 U.S.C.  1344 (misuse of government vehicle);

               31 U.S.C.  3729 (false claims against the
          government).

     In addition, provisions of specific applicability to court
     officers include:

               18 U.S.C.  153, 154 (court officers embezzling
          or purchasing property from bankruptcy estate);

               18 U.S.C.  645 (embezzlement and theft by court
          officers);

               18 U.S.C.  646 (court officers failing to deposit
          registry moneys);

               18 U.S.C.  647 (receiving loans from registry
          moneys from court officer).

     This is not a comprehensive listing but sets forth some of
     the more significant provisions with which judicial
     employees should be familiar.

B.   A judicial employee should be faithful to professional
     standards and maintain competence in the judicial employee's
     profession.

C.   A judicial employee should be patient, dignified,
     respectful, and courteous to all persons with whom the
     judicial employee deals in an official capacity, including
     the general public, and should require similar conduct of
     personnel subject to the judicial employee's direction and
     control.  A judicial employee should diligently discharge
     the responsibilities of the office in a prompt, efficient,
     nondiscriminatory, fair, and professional manner.  A
     judicial employee should never influence or attempt to
     influence the assignment of cases, or perform any
     discretionary or ministerial function of the court in a
     manner that improperly favors any litigant or attorney, nor
     should a judicial employee imply that he or she is in a
     position to do so.

D.   A judicial employee should avoid making public comment on
     the merits of a pending or impending action and should
     require similar restraint by personnel subject to the
     judicial employee's direction and control.  This
     proscription does not extend to public statements made in
     the course of official duties or to the explanation of court
     procedures.  A judicial employee should never disclose any
     confidential information received in the course of official
     duties except as required in the performance of such duties,
     nor should a judicial employee employ such information for
     personal gain.  A former judicial employee should observe
     the same restrictions on disclosure of confidential
     information that apply to a current judicial employee,
     except as modified by the appointing authority.

E.   A judicial employee should not engage in nepotism prohibited
     by law.

     Note:  See also 5 U.S.C.  3110 (employment of relatives);
     28 U.S.C.  458  (employment of judges' relatives).

F.   Conflicts of Interest.


          (1)  A judicial employee should avoid conflicts of
          interest in the performance of official duties.  A
          conflict of interest arises when a judicial employee
          knows that he or she (or the spouse, minor child
          residing in the judicial employee's household, or other
          close relative of the judicial employee) might be so
          personally or financially affected by a matter that a
          reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts
          would question the judicial employee's ability properly
          to perform official duties in an impartial manner.

          (2)  Certain judicial employees, because of their
          relationship to a judge or the nature of their duties,
          are subject to the following additional restrictions:

                    (a)  A staff attorney or law clerk should not
               perform any official duties in any matter with
               respect to which such staff attorney or law clerk
               knows that:

                              (i)  he or she has a personal bias
                    or prejudice concerning a party, or personal
                    knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts
                    concerning the proceeding;

                              (ii) he or she served as lawyer in
                    the matter in controversy, or a lawyer with
                    whom he or she previously practiced law had
                    served (during such association) as a lawyer
                    concerning the matter, or he, she, or such
                    lawyer has been a material witness;

                              (iii)     he or she, individually
                    or as a fiduciary, or the spouse or minor
                    child residing in his or her household, has a
                    financial interest in the subject matter in
                    controversy or in a party to the proceeding;

                              (iv) he or she, a spouse, or a
                    person related to either within the third
                    degree of relationship,4 or the spouse of
                    such person (A) is a party to the proceeding,
                    or an officer, director, or trustee of a
                    party; (B) is acting as a lawyer in the
                    proceeding; (C) has an interest that could be
                    substantially affected by the outcome of the
                    proceeding; or (D) is likely to be a material
                    witness in the proceeding;

                              (v)  he or she has served in
                    governmental employment and in such capacity
                    participated as counsel, advisor, or material
                    witness concerning the proceeding or has
                    expressed an opinion concerning the merits of
                    the particular case in controversy.

                    (b)  A secretary to a judge, or a courtroom
               deputy or court reporter whose assignment with a
               particular judge is reasonably perceived as being
               comparable to a member of the judge's personal
               staff, should not perform any official duties in
               any matter with respect to which such secretary,
               courtroom deputy, or court reporter knows that he
               or she, a spouse, or a person related to either
	       within the third degree of relationship, or the
               spouse of such person (i) is a party to the
               proceeding, or an officer, director, or trustee of
               a party; (ii) is acting as a lawyer in the
               proceeding; (iii) has an interest that could be
               substantially affected by the outcome of the
               proceeding; or (iv) is likely to be a material
               witness in the proceeding; provided, however, that
               when the foregoing restriction presents undue
               hardship, the judge may authorize the secretary,
               courtroom deputy, or court reporter to participate
               in the matter if no reasonable alternative exists
               and adequate safeguards are in place to ensure
               that official duties are properly performed.  In
               the event the secretary, courtroom deputy, or
               court reporter possesses any of the foregoing
               characteristics and so advises the judge, the
               judge should also consider whether the Code of
               Conduct for United States Judges may require the
               judge to recuse.

                    (c)  A probation or pretrial services officer
               should not perform any official duties in any
               matter with respect to which the probation or
               pretrial services officer knows that:

                              (i)  he or she has a personal bias
                    or prejudice concerning a party;

                              (ii) he or she is related within
                    the third degree of relationship to a party
                    to the proceeding, or to an officer,
                    director, or trustee of a party, or to a
                    lawyer in the proceeding;

                              (iii)     he or she, or a relative
                    within the third degree of relationship, has
                    an interest that could be substantially
                    affected by the outcome of the proceeding.

          (3)  When a judicial employee knows that a conflict of
          interest may be presented, the judicial employee should
          promptly inform his or her appointing authority.  The
          appointing authority, after determining that a conflict
          or the appearance of a conflict of interest exists,
          should take appropriate steps to restrict the judicial
          employee's performance of official duties in such
          matter so as to avoid a conflict or the appearance of a
          conflict of interest.  A judicial employee should
          observe any restrictions imposed by his or her
          appointing authority in this regard.

          (4)  A judicial employee who is subject to canon 3F(2)
          should keep informed about his or her personal,
          financial and fiduciary interests and make a reasonable
          effort to keep informed about such interests of a
          spouse or minor child residing in the judicial
          employee's household.

          (5)  A member of a judge's personal staff should inform
          the appointing judge of any circumstance or activity of
          the staff member that might serve as a basis for
          disqualification of either the staff member or the
          judge, in a matter pending before the judge.

CANON 4:            IN ENGAGING IN OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES, A JUDICIAL
               EMPLOYEE SHOULD AVOID THE RISK OF CONFLICT WITH
               OFFICIAL DUTIES, SHOULD AVOID THE APPEARANCE OF
               IMPROPRIETY, AND SHOULD COMPLY WITH DISCLOSURE
               REQUIREMENTS

A.   Outside Activities.  A judicial employee's activities
     outside of official duties should not detract from the
     dignity of the court, interfere with the performance of
     official duties, or adversely reflect on the operation and
     dignity of the court or office the judicial employee serves.
     Subject to the foregoing standards and the other provisions
     of this code, a judicial employee may engage in such
     activities as civic, charitable, religious, professional,
     educational, cultural, avocational, social, fraternal, and
     recreational activities, and may speak, write, lecture, and
     teach.  If such outside activities concern the law, the
     legal system, or the administration of justice, the judicial
     employee should first consult with the appointing authority
     to determine whether the proposed activities are consistent
     with the foregoing standards and the other provisions of
     this code.

B.   Solicitation of Funds.  A judicial employee may solicit
     funds in connection with outside activities, subject to the
     following limitations:

          (1)  A judicial employee should not use or permit the
          use of the prestige of the office in the solicitation
          of funds.

          (2)  A judicial employee should not solicit
          subordinates to contribute funds to any such activity
          but may provide information to them about a general
          fund-raising campaign.  A member of a judge's personal
          staff should not solicit any court personnel to
          contribute funds to any such activity under
          circumstances where the staff member's close
          relationship to the judge could reasonably be construed
          to give undue weight to the solicitation.

          (3)  A judicial employee should not solicit or accept
          funds from lawyers or other persons likely to come
          before the judicial employee or the court or office the
          judicial employee serves, except as an incident to a
          general fund-raising activity.


C.   Financial Activities.

          (1)  A judicial employee should refrain from outside
          financial and business dealings that tend to detract
          from the dignity of the court, interfere with the
          proper performance of official duties, exploit the
          position, or associate the judicial employee in a
          substantial financial manner with lawyers or other
          persons likely to come before the judicial employee or
          the court or office the judicial employee serves,
          provided, however, that court reporters are not
          prohibited from providing reporting services for
          compensation to the extent permitted by statute and by
          the court.  A member of a judge's personal staff should
          consult with the appointing judge concerning any
          financial and business activities that might reasonably
          be interpreted as violating this code and should
          refrain from any activities that fail to conform to the
          foregoing standards or that the judge concludes may
          otherwise give rise to an appearance of impropriety.

          (2)  A judicial employee should not solicit or accept a
          gift from anyone seeking official action from or doing
          business with the court or other entity served by the
          judicial employee, or from anyone whose interests may
          be substantially affected by the performance or
          nonperformance of official duties; except that a
          judicial employee may accept a gift as permitted by the
          Ethics Reform Act of 1989 and the Judicial Conference
          regulations thereunder.  A judicial employee should
          endeavor to prevent a member of a judicial employee's
          family residing in the household from soliciting or
          accepting any such gift except to the extent that a
          judicial employee would be permitted to do so by the
          Ethics Reform Act of 1989 and the Judicial Conference
          regulations thereunder.

               Note:  See 5 U.S.C.  7353 (gifts to federal
          employees).  See also 5 U.S.C.  7342 (foreign gifts);
          5 U.S.C.  7351 (gifts to superiors).

          (3)  A judicial employee should report the value of
          gifts to the extent a report is required by the Ethics
          Reform Act, other applicable law, or the Judicial
          Conference of the United States.

               Note:  See 5 U.S.C. app. 6,  101 to 111 (Ethics
          Reform Act financial disclosure provisions).

          (4)  During judicial employment, a law clerk or staff
          attorney may seek and obtain employment to commence
          after the completion of the judicial employment.
          However, the law clerk or staff attorney should first
          consult with the appointing authority and observe any
          restrictions imposed by the appointing authority.  If
          any law firm, lawyer, or entity with whom a law clerk
          or staff attorney has been employed or is seeking or
          has obtained future employment appears in any matter
          pending before the appointing authority, the law clerk
          or staff attorney should promptly bring this fact to
          the attention of the appointing authority.

D.   Practice of Law.  A judicial employee should not engage in
     the practice of law except that a judicial employee may act
     pro se, may perform routine legal work incident to the
     management of the personal affairs of the judicial employee
     or a member of the judicial employee's family, and may
     provide pro bono legal services in civil matters, so long as
     such pro se, family, or pro bono legal work does not present
     an appearance of impropriety, does not take place while on
     duty or in the judicial employee's workplace, and does not
     interfere with the judicial employee's primary
     responsibility to the office in which the judicial employee
     serves, and further provided that:

          (1)  in the case of pro se legal work, such work is
          done without compensation (other than such compensation
          as may be allowed by statute or court rule in probate
          proceedings);

          (2)  in the case of family legal work, such work is
          done without compensation (other than such compensation
          as may be allowed by statute or court rule in probate
          proceedings) and does not involve the entry of an
          appearance in a federal court;

          (3)  in the case of pro bono legal services, such work
          (a) is done without compensation; (b) does not involve
          the entry of an appearance in any federal, state, or
          local court or administrative agency; (c) does not
          involve a matter of public controversy, an issue likely
          to come before the judicial employee's court, or
          litigation against federal, state or local government;
          and (d) is reviewed in advance with the appointing
          authority to determine whether the proposed services
          are consistent with the foregoing standards and the
          other provisions of this code.

     Judicial employees may also serve as uncompensated mediators
     or arbitrators for nonprofit organizations, subject to the
     standards applicable to pro bono practice of law, as set
     forth above, and the other provisions of this code.

          A judicial employee should ascertain any limitations
     imposed by the appointing judge or the court on which the
     appointing judge serves concerning the practice of law by a
     former judicial employee before the judge or the court and
     should observe such limitations after leaving such
     employment.

     Note:  See also 18 U.S.C.  203 (representation in matters
     involving the United States); 18 U.S.C.  205 (claims
     against the United States); 28 U.S.C.  955 (restriction on
     clerks of court practicing law).

E.   Compensation and Reimbursement.  A judicial employee may
     receive compensation and reimbursement of expenses for
     outside activities provided that receipt of such
     compensation and reimbursement is not prohibited or
     restricted by this code, the Ethics Reform Act, and other
     applicable law, and provided that the source or amount of
     such payments does not influence or give the appearance of
     influencing the judicial employee in the performance of
     official duties or otherwise give the appearance of
     impropriety.  Expense reimbursement should be limited to the
     actual cost of travel, food, and lodging reasonably incurred
     by a judicial employee and, where appropriate to the
     occasion, by the judicial employee's spouse or relative.
     Any payment in excess of such an amount is compensation.

          A judicial employee should make and file reports of
     compensation and reimbursement for outside activities to the
     extent prescribed by the Ethics Reform Act, other applicable
     law, or the Judicial Conference of the United States.

          Notwithstanding the above, a judicial employee should
     not receive any salary, or any supplementation of salary, as
     compensation for official government services from any
     source other than the United States, provided, however, that
     court reporters are not prohibited from receiving
     compensation for reporting services to the extent permitted
     by statute and by the court.

     Note:  See 5 U.S.C. app. 6,  101 to 111 (Ethics Reform Act
     financial disclosure provisions); 28 U.S.C.  753 (court
     reporter compensation).  See also 5 U.S.C. app. 7,  501 to
     505 (outside earned income and employment).

CANON 5:            A JUDICIAL EMPLOYEE SHOULD REFRAIN FROM
               INAPPROPRIATE POLITICAL ACTIVITY

A.   Partisan Political Activity.  A judicial employee should
     refrain from partisan political activity; should not act as
     a leader or hold any office in a partisan political
     organization; should not make speeches for or publicly
     endorse or oppose a partisan political organization or
     candidate; should not solicit funds for or contribute to a
     partisan political organization, candidate, or event; should
     not become a candidate for partisan political office; and
     should not otherwise actively engage in partisan political
     activities.

B.   Nonpartisan Political Activity.  A member of a judge's
     personal staff, clerk of court, chief probation officer,
     chief pretrial services officer, circuit executive, and
     district court executive should refrain from nonpartisan
     political activity such as campaigning for or publicly
     endorsing or opposing a nonpartisan political candidate;
     soliciting funds for or contributing to a nonpartisan
     political candidate or event; and becoming a candidate for
     nonpartisan political office.  Other judicial employees may
     engage in nonpartisan political activity only if such
     activity does not tend to reflect adversely on the dignity
     or impartiality of the court or office and does not
     interfere with the proper performance of official duties.  A
     judicial employee may not engage in such activity while on
     duty or in the judicial employee's workplace and may not
     utilize any federal resources in connection with any such
     activity.

Note:  See also 18 U.S.C. chapter 29 (elections and political
activities).
_______________________________
    1  Justices and employees of the Supreme Court are subject to
standards established by the Justices of that Court.  Judges are
subject to the Code of Conduct for United States Judges.
Employees of the AO and the FJC are subject to their respective
agency codes.  Employees of the Sentencing Commission are subject
to standards established by the Commission.  Federal public
defender employees are subject to the Code of Conduct for Federal
Public Defender Employees.  When Actually Employed (WAE)
employees are subject to canons 1, 2, and 3 and such other
provisions of this code as may be determined by the appointing
authority.

    2  Employees who occupy positions with functions and
responsibilities similar to those for a particular position
identified in this code should be guided by the standards
applicable to that position, even if the position title differs.
When in doubt, employees may seek an advisory opinion as to the
applicability of specific code provisions.

    3  See Guide to Judiciary Policies and Procedures, Volume II,
Chapter VI, Statutory and Regulatory Provisions Relating to the
Conduct of Judges and Judicial Employees.

    4  As used in this code, the third degree of relationship is
calculated according to the civil law system to include the
following relatives:  parent, child, grandparent, grandchild,
great grandparent, great grandchild, brother, sister, aunt,
uncle, niece and nephew.



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Copyright 1995, 1996, 1997 by Touch N' Go Systems, Inc. No copyright claim is made to the text of the Opinions or other government works.

Last Modified 1/21/97