New Hampshire Rules of Judicial Conduct

Rules Judges Must Follow in the State of New Hampshire

 Here are the Codes of Judicial Conduct, or laws governing Judges in the State of New Hampshire. These rules are made by the Supreme Court and taken from the official NH court website on in September, 2023. It has been formatted to fit on one page for easy printing and viewing.

These rules are not legal advice or and interpretation. You should consult an attorney to completely understand the risks of representing yourself in court or the courtroom without a lawyer, and this is not a recommendation to do so. Please see bellow information about finding an attorney in New Hampshire.

Please See the Complete Supreme Court Rules which contain the Appeal Process, Rules of Professional Conduct (rules for lawyers) and Rules of Judicial Conduct (rules for justices).

See NH Supreme Court Supplemental Rules for more info, including the new e-file system (electronic filing).

Finding a Lawyer in New Hampshire

Finding the right attorney to represent your case is not easy, or inexpensive. They are busy, may want to proceed in a way you do not, and typically charge between $250 and $300 an hour in New Hampshire, requiring a $5,000 retainer. This is my personal experience looking for a lawyer that practices Law in New Hampshire in 2022 and 2023.

There may be low cost and free options available for you in New Hampshire, if you qualify.

NH Supreme Court Rules of Judicial Conduct

 

Rule 38. Code of Judicial Conduct

PREAMBLE

[1] An independent, fair and impartial judiciary is indispensable to our system of justice. The United States legal system is based upon the principle that an independent, impartial, and competent judiciary, composed of men and women of integrity, will interpret and apply the law that governs our society. Thus, the judiciary plays a central role in preserving the principles of justice and the rule of law. Inherent in all the Rules contained in this Code are the precepts that judges, individually and collectively, must respect and honor the judicial office as a public trust and strive to maintain and enhance confidence in the legal system.

[2] Judges should maintain the dignity of judicial office at all times, and avoid both impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in their professional and personal lives. They should aspire at all times to conduct that ensures the greatest possible public confidence in their independence, impartiality, integrity, and competence.

[3] The Code of Judicial Conduct establishes standards for the ethical conduct of judges and judicial candidates. It is not intended as an exhaustive guide for the conduct of judges and judicial candidates, who are governed in their judicial and personal conduct by general ethical standards as well as by the Code. The Code is intended, however, to provide guidance and assist judges in maintaining the highest standards of judicial and personal conduct, and to provide a basis for regulating their conduct through disciplinary agencies.

SCOPE

[1] The Code of Judicial Conduct consists of four Canons, numbered Rules under each Canon, and Comments that generally follow and explain each Rule. Scope and Terminology sections provide additional guidance in interpreting and applying the Code. An Application section establishes when the various Rules apply to a judge or judicial candidate.

[2] The Canons state overarching principles of judicial ethics that all judges must observe.  Although a judge may be disciplined only for violating a Rule, the Canons provide important guidance in interpreting the Rules. Where a Rule contains a permissive term, such as “may” or “should,” the conduct being addressed is committed to the personal and professional discretion of the judge or candidate in question, and no disciplinary action should be taken for action or inaction within the bounds of such discretion.

[3] The Comments that accompany the Rules serve two functions. First, they provide guidance regarding the purpose, meaning, and proper application of the Rules. They contain explanatory material and, in some instances, provide examples of permitted or prohibited conduct. Comments neither add to nor subtract from the binding obligations set forth in the Rules. Therefore, when a Comment contains the term “must,” it does not mean that the Comment itself is binding or enforceable; it signifies that the Rule in question, properly understood, is obligatory as to the conduct at issue.

[4] Second, the Comments identify aspirational goals for judges. To implement fully the principles of this Code as articulated in the Canons, judges should strive to exceed the standards of conduct established by the Rules, holding themselves to the highest ethical standards and seeking to achieve those aspirational goals, thereby enhancing the dignity of the judicial office.

[5] The Rules of the Code of Judicial Conduct are rules of reason that should be applied consistent with constitutional requirements, statutes, other court rules, and decisional law, and with due regard for all relevant circumstances. The Rules should not be interpreted to impinge upon the essential independence of judges in making judicial decisions.

[6] Although the black letter of the Rules is binding and enforceable, it is not contemplated that every transgression will result in the imposition of discipline. Whether discipline should be imposed should be determined through a reasonable and reasoned application of the Rules, and should depend upon factors such as the seriousness of the transgression, the facts and circumstances that existed at the time of the transgression, the extent of any pattern of improper activity, whether there have been previous violations, and the effect of the improper activity upon the judicial system or others.

[7] The Code is not designed or intended as a basis for civil or criminal liability. Neither is it intended to be the basis for litigants to seek collateral remedies against each other or to obtain tactical advantages in proceedings before a court.

TERMINOLOGY

“Appropriate authority” means the authority having responsibility for initiation of disciplinary process in connection with the violation to be reported.

“Compensation” denotes remuneration for personal services.

“Contribution” means both financial and in-kind contributions, such as goods, professional or volunteer services, advertising, and other types of assistance, which, if obtained by the recipient otherwise, would require a financial expenditure.

“Court personnel” does not include the lawyers in a proceeding before a judge.

“De minimis,” in the context of interests pertaining to disqualification of a judge, means an insignificant interest that could not raise a reasonable question regarding the judge’s impartiality.

“Domestic partner” means a person with whom another person maintains a household and an intimate relationship, other than a person to whom he or she is legally married, but including parties who have entered into a civil union.

“Economic interest” means ownership of more than a de minimis legal or equitable interest. Except for situations in which the judge participates in the management of such a legal or equitable interest, or the interest could be substantially affected by the outcome of a proceeding before a judge, it does not include:

(1) an interest in the individual holdings within a mutual or common investment fund;

(2) an interest in securities held by an educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organization in which the judge or the judge’s spouse, domestic partner, parent, or child serves as a director, an officer, an advisor, or other participant;

(3) a deposit in a financial institution or deposits or proprietary interests the judge may maintain as a member of a mutual savings association or credit union, or similar proprietary interests; or

(4) an interest in the issuer of government securities held by the judge.

“Fiduciary” includes relationships such as executor, administrator, trustee, or guardian.

“Impartial,” “impartiality,” and “impartially” mean absence of bias or prejudice in favor of, or against, particular parties or classes of parties, as well as maintenance of an open mind in considering issues that may come before a judge.

“Impending matter” is a matter that is imminent or expected to occur in the near future.

“Impropriety” includes conduct that violates the law, court rules, or provisions of this Code, and conduct that undermines a judge’s independence, integrity, or impartiality.

“Independence” means a judge’s freedom from influence or controls other than those established by law.

“Integrity” means probity, fairness, honesty, uprightness, and soundness of character.

“Judge” includes the following members of the State of New Hampshire Judicial Branch:  (1) a full-time or part-time judge of any court or division; (2) a full-time or part-time marital master; (3) a referee or other master; and (4) when performing an adjudicatory function, a clerk of court or deputy clerk, including a register of probate or deputy register, and any person performing the duties of a clerk or register on an interim basis.  Not everyone who is a “judge” as defined herein is bound by every canon of the Code of Judicial Conduct- the Code of Judicial Conduct applies to a judge to the extent provided in Supreme Court Rule 38.

“Judicial candidate” means any person, who has been nominated for judicial office.

“Knowingly,” “knowledge,” “known,” and “knows” mean actual knowledge of the fact in question. A person’s knowledge may be inferred from circumstances.

“Law” encompasses court rules as well as statutes, constitutional provisions, and decisional law.

“Member of the candidate’s family” means a spouse, domestic partner, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, or other relative or person with whom the candidate maintains a close familial relationship.

“Member of the judge’s family” means a spouse, domestic partner, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, or other relative or person with whom the judge maintains a close familial relationship.

“Member of a judge’s family residing in the judge’s household” means any relative of a judge by blood or marriage, or a person treated by a judge as a member of the judge’s family, who resides in the judge’s household.

“Nonpublic information” means information that is not available to the public. Nonpublic information may include, but is not limited to, information that is sealed by statute or court order or impounded or communicated in camera, and information offered in grand jury proceedings, presentencing reports, dependency cases, or psychiatric reports.

“Part time judge” is a judge who serves on a continuing or periodic basis but is permitted by law to devote time to some other profession or occupation and whose compensation for that reason is less than that of a full time judge.

“Pending matter” is a matter that has commenced. A matter continues to be pending through any appellate process until final disposition.

“Political organization” means a political party or other group sponsored by or affiliated with a political party or candidate, the principal purpose of which is to further the election or appointment of candidates for political office.

“Require.”  The rules prescribing that a judge “require” certain conduct of others are, like all of the rules in this Code, rules of reason.  The use of the term “require” in that context means a judge is to exercise reasonable direction and control over the conduct of those persons subject to the judge’s direction and control.

“Third degree of relationship” includes the following persons: great-grandparent, grandparent, parent, uncle, aunt, brother, sister, child, grandchild, great-grandchild, nephew, and niece.

APPLICATION

  1.  Anyone, whether or not a lawyer, who is an officer of a judicial system and who performs adjudicatory functions, including an officer such as a magistrate, marital master, special master or referee, is treated as a judge within the meaning of this Code. All judges shall comply with this Code except as provided below.
  2.  All retired judges who have elected to take senior active status or who wish to serve as judicial referees or temporary justices of the supreme court shall comply with the provisions of this Code governing part time judges, except that they shall also comply with the provisions of Rule 3.9 if they wish to serve as a private mediator or arbitrator for compensation. A retired judge who does not take senior active status and who does not desire to serve as a judicial referee or a temporary justice of the supreme court is not subject to Rule 3.9 of this Code.
  3.  Part time Judge.  A part time judge:

(1) is not required to comply

(a) except while serving as a judge, with Rule 2.10(A);

(b) at any time, with Rules 3.1(B), 3.4, 3.7(A)(6), 3.8, 3.9, 3.10, 3.11(B), 3.11(C), 3.13(A), 3.14 and 3.15;

(c) at any time, with Rule 3.2 but only to the extent that it prohibits appearances before administrative bodies in adjudicatory proceedings; otherwise, a part time judge shall comply with Rule 3.2.

(2) shall not practice law in the court on which the judge serves, in any other court of the same level (e.g., a part time district court judge shall not practice law in any other district court), any court subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the court on which the judge serves, and shall not act as a lawyer in a proceeding in which the judge has served as a judge or in any other proceeding related thereto.

(3) may serve as counsel to the town wherein the judge’s court is located or a town within the judicial district of the judge’s court, provided that:

(a) the judge may give no advice to the police of such town and may give no advice to any other officer or employee of the town that could reasonably be expected to influence the exercise of discretion by the police in the performance of their duties;

(b) the judge may give no advice to any officer or employee of the town on a matter that could reasonably be expected to be the subject of any action or suit before the judge’s court; and

(c) the judge shall recuse him or herself from sitting as judge on any case in which the judge’s advice to the town is directly called into question or in which a ruling could directly affect the interests of the town.

(4) Notwithstanding anything above to the contrary, a part time marital master shall be governed by all of the canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct as provided in Superior Court Administrative Rule 12-7.

  1.  Clerks, Deputy Clerks, Registers of Probate, Deputy Registers of Probate, any persons performing the duties of a Clerk or Register, shall comply with Rules 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 2.8, 2.10, 2.12, 2.15, and 2.16.
  2.  Time for Compliance.  A person to whom this Code becomes applicable shall comply immediately with all provisions of this Code except Sections 4D(2), 4D(3), and 4E, and shall comply with these sections as soon as reasonably possible and shall do so in any event within the period of one year.

 

Comment

[1] When a person who has been a part time judge is no longer a part time judge (no longer accepts appointments), that person may act as a lawyer in a proceeding in which he or she has served as a judge or in any other proceeding related thereto only with the express consent of all parties pursuant to Rule 1.12(a) of the N.H. Rules of Professional Conduct.

[2] If serving as a fiduciary when selected as a judge, a new judge may, notwithstanding the prohibitions in Section 4E, continue to serve as fiduciary but only for that period of time necessary to avoid serious adverse consequences to the beneficiary of the fiduciary relationship and in no event longer than one year. Similarly, if engaged at the time of judicial selection in a business activity, a new judge may, notwithstanding the prohibitions in Section 4D(3), continue in that activity for a reasonable period but in no event longer than one year.

[3]  In recent years many jurisdictions have created what are often called “problem solving” courts, in which judges are authorized to act in nontraditional ways.  For example, judges presiding in drug courts and monitoring the progress of participants in those courts’ programs may be authorized and even encouraged to communicate directly with social workers, probation officers, and others outside the context of their usual role as independent decision makers on issues of fact and law.  When local practices and/or protocols specifically authorize conduct not otherwise permitted under these Rules, they take precedence over the provisions set forth in the Code.  Nevertheless, judges serving on “problem solving” courts shall comply with this Code except to the extent local practices and/or protocols provide and permit otherwise.

CANON 1

A judge shall uphold and promote the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.

Rule 1.1 Compliance with the Law

A judge shall comply with the law, including the Code of Judicial Conduct.

Rule 1.2 Promoting Confidence in the Judiciary

A judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.

Comment

[1] Public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by improper conduct and conduct that creates the appearance of impropriety. This principle applies to both the professional and personal conduct of a judge.

[2] A judge should expect to be the subject of public scrutiny that might be viewed as burdensome if applied to other citizens, and must accept the restrictions imposed by the Code.

[3] Conduct that compromises or appears to compromise the independence, integrity, and impartiality of a judge undermines public confidence in the judiciary. Because it is not practicable to list all such conduct, the Rule is necessarily cast in general terms.

[4] Judges are encouraged to participate in activities that promote ethical conduct among judges and lawyers, support professionalism within the judiciary and the legal profession, and promote access to justice for all.

[5] Actual improprieties include violations of law, court rules or provisions of this Code. The test for appearance of impropriety is whether the conduct would create in the mind of a reasonable, disinterested person fully informed of the facts a perception that the judge’s ability to carry out judicial responsibilities with integrity, impartiality and competence is impaired.

[6]  A judge is encouraged to initiate and participate in community outreach activities for the purpose of promoting public understanding of and confidence in the administration of justice.  In conducting such activities, the judge must act in a manner consistent with this Code.

Rule 1.3 Avoiding Abuse of the Prestige of Judicial Office

A judge shall not abuse the prestige of judicial office to advance the personal or economic interests of the judge or others, or allow others to do so.

Comment

[1] It is improper for a judge to use or attempt to use his or her position to gain personal advantage or deferential treatment of any kind. For example, it would be improper for a judge to allude to his or her judicial status to gain favorable treatment in encounters with traffic officials. Similarly, judicial letterhead must not be used for conducting a judge’s personal business.

[2] A judge may provide a reference or recommendation for an individual based upon the judge’s personal knowledge. The judge may use official letterhead if the judge indicates that the reference is personal and if there is no likelihood that the use of the letterhead would reasonably be perceived as an attempt to exert pressure by reason of the judicial office.

[3] Judges may participate in the process of judicial selection by cooperating with appointing authorities and screening committees, and by responding to inquiries from such entities concerning the professional qualifications of a person being considered for judicial office. Testifying as to the qualifications of a judicial nominee at a confirmation hearing is not to be construed as a violation of this rule.

[4] Special considerations arise when judges write or contribute to publications of for-profit entities, whether related or unrelated to the law. A judge should not permit anyone associated with the publication of such materials to exploit the judge’s office in a manner that violates this Rule or other applicable law. In contracts for publication of a judge’s writing, the judge should retain sufficient control over the advertising to avoid such exploitation.

CANON 2

A judge shall perform the duties of judicial office impartially, competently, and diligently.

Rule 2.1 Giving Precedence to the Duties of Judicial Office

The duties of judicial office, as prescribed by law, shall take precedence over all of a judge’s personal and extrajudicial activities.

Comment

[1] To ensure that judges are available to fulfill their judicial duties, judges must conduct their personal and extrajudicial activities to minimize the risk of conflicts that would result in frequent disqualification. See Canon 3.

[2] Although it is not a duty of judicial office unless prescribed by law, judges are encouraged to participate in activities that promote public understanding of and confidence in the justice system.

Rule 2.2 Impartiality and Fairness

(A) A judge shall uphold and apply the law, and shall perform all duties of judicial office fairly and impartially.

(B) A judge may make reasonable efforts, consistent with the law and court rules, to facilitate the ability of all litigants, including self-represented litigants, to be fairly heard.

Comment
[1] To ensure impartiality and fairness to all parties, a judge must be objective and open-minded.

[2] Although each judge comes to the bench with a unique background and personal philosophy, a judge must interpret and apply the law without regard to whether the judge approves or disapproves of the law in question.

[3] When applying and interpreting the law, a judge sometimes may make good-faith errors of fact or law. Errors of this kind do not violate this Rule.

[4] The growth in litigation involving self-represented litigants and the responsibility of courts to promote access to justice warrant reasonable flexibility by judges, consistent with the law and court rules, to ensure that all litigants are fairly heard.

Rule 2.3 Bias, Prejudice, and Harassment

(A) A judge shall perform the duties of judicial office, including administrative duties, without bias or prejudice.

(B) A judge shall not, in the performance of judicial duties, by words or conduct manifest bias or prejudice, or engage in harassment, including but not limited to bias, prejudice, or harassment based upon race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, socioeconomic status, or political affiliation, and shall not permit court staff, court officials, or others subject to the judge’s direction and control to do so.

(C) A judge shall require lawyers in proceedings before the court to refrain from manifesting bias or prejudice, or engaging in harassment, based upon attributes including but not limited to race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, socioeconomic status, or political affiliation, against parties, witnesses, lawyers, or others.

(D) The restrictions of paragraphs (B) and (C) do not preclude judges or lawyers from making legitimate reference to the listed factors, or similar factors, when they are relevant to an issue in a proceeding.

Comment

[1] A judge who manifests bias or prejudice in a proceeding impairs the fairness of the proceeding and brings the judiciary into disrepute.

[2] Examples of manifestations of bias or prejudice include but are not limited to epithets; slurs; demeaning nicknames; negative stereotyping; attempted humor based upon stereotypes; threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts; suggestions of connections between race, ethnicity, or nationality and crime; and irrelevant references to personal characteristics. Even facial expressions and body language can convey to parties and lawyers in the proceeding, jurors, the media, and others an appearance of bias or prejudice. A judge must avoid conduct that may reasonably be perceived as prejudiced or biased.

[3] Harassment, as referred to in paragraphs (B) and (C), is verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward a person on bases such as race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, socioeconomic status, or political affiliation.

[4] Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is unwelcome.

Rule 2.4 External Influences on Judicial Conduct

(A) A judge shall not be swayed by public clamor or fear of criticism.

(B) A judge shall not permit family, social, political, financial, or other interests or relationships to influence the judge’s judicial conduct or judgment.

(C) A judge shall not convey or permit others to convey the impression that any person or organization is in a position to influence the judge.

Comment

[1] An independent judiciary requires that judges decide cases according to the law and facts, without regard to whether particular laws or litigants are popular or unpopular with the public, the media, government officials, or the judge’s friends or family. Confidence in the judiciary is eroded if judicial decision making is perceived to be subject to inappropriate outside influences.

Rule 2.5 Competence, Diligence, and Cooperation

(A) A judge shall perform judicial and administrative duties, competently and diligently.

(B) A judge shall cooperate with other judges and court officials in the administration of court business.

Comment

[1] Competence in the performance of judicial duties requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary to perform a judge’s responsibilities of judicial office.

[2] Prompt disposition of the court’s business requires a judge to devote adequate time to judicial duties, to be punctual in attending court and expeditious in determining matters under submission, and to take reasonable measures to ensure that court officials, litigants, and their lawyers cooperate with the judge to that end.

[3] In disposing of matters promptly and efficiently, a judge must demonstrate due regard for the rights of parties to be heard and to have issues resolved without unnecessary cost or delay. A judge should monitor and supervise cases in ways that reduce or eliminate dilatory practices, avoidable delays, and unnecessary costs.

Rule 2.6 Ensuring the Right to Be Heard

(A) A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person’s lawyer, the right to be heard according to law.

(B) A judge may encourage parties to a proceeding and their lawyers to settle matters in dispute but shall not act in a manner that coerces any party into settlement.

Comment

[1] The right to be heard is an essential component of a fair and impartial system of justice. Substantive rights of litigants can be protected only if procedures protecting the right to be heard are observed.

[2] The judge plays an important role in overseeing the settlement of disputes, but should be careful that efforts to further settlement do not undermine any party’s right to be heard according to law. The judge should keep in mind the effect that the judge’s participation in settlement discussions may have, not only on the judge’s own views of the case, but also on the perceptions of the lawyers and the parties if the case remains with the judge after settlement efforts are unsuccessful. Among the factors that a judge should consider when deciding upon an appropriate settlement practice for a case are (1) whether the parties have requested or voluntarily consented to a certain level of participation by the judge in settlement discussions, (2) whether the parties and their counsel are relatively sophisticated in legal matters, (3) whether the case will be tried by the judge or a jury, (4) whether the parties participate with their counsel in settlement discussions, (5) whether any parties are unrepresented by counsel, and (6) whether the matter is civil or criminal.

[3] Judges must be mindful of the effect settlement discussions can have, not only on their objectivity and impartiality, but also on the appearance of their objectivity and impartiality. Despite a judge’s best efforts, there may be instances when information obtained during settlement discussions could influence a judge’s decision making during trial, and, in such instances, the judge should consider whether disqualification may be appropriate. See Rule 2.11(A)(1).

[4] Court-ordered mediation is not considered coercion.

Rule 2.7 Responsibility to Decide

A judge shall hear and decide matters assigned to the judge, except when disqualification is required by Rule 2.11 or other law.

Comment

[1] Although there are times when disqualification is necessary to protect the rights of litigants and preserve public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, judges must be available to decide matters that come before the courts. Unwarranted disqualification may bring public disfavor to the court and to the judge personally. The dignity of the court, the judge’s respect for fulfillment of judicial duties, and a proper concern for the burdens that may be imposed upon the judge’s colleagues require that a judge not use disqualification to avoid cases that present difficult, controversial, or unpopular issues.

Rule 2.8 Decorum, Demeanor, and Communication with Jurors

(A) A judge shall require order and decorum in proceedings before the court.

(B) A judge shall be patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, court staff, court officials, and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity, and shall require similar conduct of lawyers, court staff, court officials, and others subject to the judge’s direction and control.

(C) A judge shall not commend or criticize jurors for their verdict other than in a court order or opinion in a proceeding.

Comment

[1] The duty to hear all proceedings with patience and courtesy is not inconsistent with the duty imposed in Rule 2.5 to dispose promptly of the business of the court. Judges can be efficient and businesslike while being patient and deliberate.

[2] Commending or criticizing jurors for their verdict may imply a judicial expectation in future cases and may impair a juror’s ability to be fair and impartial in a subsequent case.

[3] A judge who is not otherwise prohibited by law from doing so may meet with jurors who choose to remain after trial but should be careful not to discuss the merits of the case.

Rule 2.9 Ex Parte Communications

(A) A judge shall not initiate, permit, or consider ex parte communications, or consider other communications made to the judge outside the presence of the parties or their lawyers, concerning a pending or impending matter, except as follows:

(1) When circumstances require it, ex parte communication for scheduling, administrative, or emergency purposes, which does not address substantive matters, is permitted, provided:

(a) the judge reasonably believes that no party will gain a procedural, substantive, or tactical advantage as a result of the ex parte communication; and

(b) the judge makes provision promptly to notify all other parties of the substance of the ex parte communication, and gives the parties an opportunity to respond.

(2) A judge may obtain the written advice of a disinterested expert on the law applicable to a proceeding before the judge, if the judge gives advance notice to the parties of the person to be consulted and the subject matter of the advice to be solicited, and affords the parties a reasonable opportunity to object and respond to the notice and to the advice received.

(3) A judge may consult with court staff and court officials whose functions are to aid the judge in carrying out the judge’s adjudicative responsibilities, or with other judges, provided the judge makes reasonable efforts to avoid receiving factual information that is not part of the record, and does not abrogate the responsibility personally to decide the matter.

(4) A judge may, with the consent of the parties, confer separately with the parties and their lawyers in an effort to settle matters pending before the judge.

(5) A judge may initiate, permit, or consider any ex parte communication when expressly authorized by law to do so.

(B) If a judge inadvertently receives an unauthorized ex parte communication bearing upon the substance of a matter, the judge shall make provision promptly to notify the parties of the substance of the communication and provide the parties with an opportunity to respond.

(C) A judge shall not investigate facts in a matter independently, and shall consider only the evidence presented and any facts that may properly be judicially noticed.

(D) A judge shall make reasonable efforts, including providing appropriate supervision, to ensure that this Rule is not violated by court staff, court officials, and others subject to the judge’s direction and control.

Comment

[1] To the extent reasonably possible, all parties or their lawyers shall be included in communications with a judge.

[2] Whenever the presence of a party or notice to a party is required by this Rule, it is the party’s lawyer, or if the party is unrepresented, the party, who is to be present or to whom notice is to be given.

[3] The proscription against communications concerning a proceeding includes communications with lawyers, law teachers, and other persons who are not participants in the proceeding, except to the limited extent permitted by this Rule.

[4] A judge may initiate, permit, or consider ex parte communications expressly authorized by law, such as when serving on therapeutic or problem-solving courts, mental health courts, or drug courts. In this capacity, judges may assume a more interactive role with parties, treatment providers, probation officers, social workers, and others.

[5] A judge may consult with other judges on pending matters, but must avoid ex parte discussions of a case with judges who have previously been disqualified from hearing the matter, and with judges who have appellate jurisdiction over the matter.

[6] The prohibition against a judge investigating the facts in a matter extends to information available in all mediums, including electronic.

[7] A judge may consult ethics advisory committees, outside counsel, or legal experts concerning the judge’s compliance with this Code. Such consultations are not subject to the restrictions of paragraph (A)(2).

Rule 2.10 Judicial Statements on Pending and Impending Cases

(A) A judge shall not make any public statement that might reasonably be expected to affect the outcome or impair the fairness of a matter pending or impending in any court, or make any nonpublic statement that might substantially interfere with a fair trial or hearing.

(B) A judge shall not, in connection with cases, controversies, or issues that are likely to come before the court, make pledges, promises, or commitments that are inconsistent with the impartial performance of the adjudicative duties of judicial office.

(C) A judge shall require court staff, court officials, and others subject to the judge’s direction and control to refrain from making statements that the judge would be prohibited from making by paragraphs (A) and (B).

(D) Notwithstanding the restrictions in paragraph (A), a judge may make public statements in the course of official duties, may explain court procedures, and may comment on any proceeding in which the judge is a litigant in a personal capacity.

(E) Subject to the requirements of paragraph (A), a judge may respond directly or through a third party to allegations in the media or elsewhere concerning the judge’s conduct in a matter.

Comment

[1] This Rule’s restrictions on judicial speech are essential to the maintenance of the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary.

[2] This Rule does not prohibit a judge from commenting on proceedings in which the judge is a litigant in a personal capacity. In cases in which the judge is a litigant in an official capacity, such as a writ of mandamus, the judge must not comment publicly.

[3] Depending upon the circumstances, the judge should consider whether it may be preferable for a third party, rather than the judge, to respond or issue statements in connection with allegations concerning the judge’s conduct in a matter.

Rule 2.11 Disqualification

(A) A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in any proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including but not limited to the following circumstances:

(1) The judge has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party or a party’s lawyer, or personal knowledge of facts that are in dispute in the proceeding.

(2) The judge knows that the judge, the judge’s spouse or domestic partner, or a person within the third degree of relationship to either of them, or the spouse or domestic partner of such a person is:

(a) a party to the proceeding, or an officer, director, general partner, managing member, or trustee of a party;

(b) acting as a lawyer in the proceeding;

(c) a person who has more than a de minimis interest that could be substantially affected by the proceeding; or

(d) likely to be a material witness in the proceeding.

(3) The judge knows that he or she, individually or as a fiduciary, or the judge’s spouse, domestic partner, parent, or child, or any other member of the judge’s family residing in the judge’s household, has an economic interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding.

(4) The judge, while a judge or a judicial candidate, has made a public statement, other than in a court proceeding, judicial decision, or opinion, that commits or appears to commit the judge to reach a particular result or rule in a particular way in the proceeding or controversy.

(5) The judge:

(a) served as a lawyer in the matter in controversy, or was associated with a lawyer who participated substantially as a lawyer in the matter during such association;

(b) served in governmental employment, and in such capacity participated personally and substantially as a lawyer or public official concerning the proceeding, or has publicly expressed in such capacity an opinion concerning the merits of the particular matter in controversy; or

(c) was a material witness concerning the matter.

(B) A judge shall keep informed about the judge’s personal and fiduciary economic interests, and make a reasonable effort to keep informed about the personal economic interests of the judge’s spouse or domestic partner and minor children residing in the judge’s household.

(C) A judge subject to disqualification under this Rule, other than for bias or prejudice under paragraph (A)(1), may disclose on the record the basis of the judge’s disqualification and may ask the parties and their lawyers to consider, outside the presence of the judge and court personnel, whether to waive disqualification. If, following the disclosure, the parties and lawyers agree, without participation by the judge or court personnel, that the judge should not be disqualified, the judge may participate in the proceeding. The agreement shall be incorporated into the record of the proceeding.

Comment

[1] Under this Rule, a judge is disqualified whenever the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, regardless of whether any of the specific provisions of paragraphs (A)(1) through (6) apply. In many jurisdictions, the term “recusal” is used interchangeably with the term “disqualification.”

[2] A judge’s obligation not to hear or decide matters in which disqualification is required applies regardless of whether a motion to disqualify is filed.

[3] The rule of necessity may override the rule of disqualification. For example, a judge might be required to participate in judicial review of a judicial salary statute, or might be the only judge available in a matter requiring immediate judicial action, such as a hearing on probable cause or a temporary restraining order. In matters that require immediate action, the judge must disclose on the record the basis for possible disqualification and make reasonable efforts to transfer the matter to another judge as soon as practicable.

[4] The fact that a lawyer in a proceeding is affiliated with a law firm with which a relative of the judge is affiliated does not itself disqualify the judge. If, however, the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned under paragraph (A), or the relative is known by the judge to have an interest in the law firm that could be substantially affected by the proceeding under paragraph (A)(2)(c), the judge’s disqualification is required.

[5] A judge should disclose on the record information that the judge believes the parties or their lawyers might reasonably consider relevant to a possible motion for disqualification, even if the judge believes there is no basis for disqualification.

[6] “Economic interest,” as set forth in the Terminology section, means ownership of more than a de minimis legal or equitable interest. Except for situations in which a judge participates in the management of such a legal or equitable interest, or the interest could be substantially affected by the outcome of a proceeding before a judge, it does not include:

(1) an interest in the individual holdings within a mutual or common investment fund;

(2) an interest in securities held by an educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organization in which the judge or the judge’s spouse, domestic partner, parent, or child serves as a director, officer, advisor, or other participant;

(3) a deposit in a financial institution or deposits or proprietary interests the judge may maintain as a member of a mutual savings association or credit union, or similar proprietary interests; or

(4) an interest in the issuer of government securities held by the judge.

Rule 2.12 Supervisory Duties

(A) A judge shall require court staff, court officials, and others subject to the judge’s direction and control to act in a manner consistent with the judge’s obligations under this Code.

(B) A judge with supervisory authority for the performance of other judges shall take reasonable measures to ensure that those judges properly discharge their judicial responsibilities, including the prompt disposition of matters before them.

Comment

[1] A judge is responsible for his or her own conduct and for the conduct of others, such as staff, when those persons are acting at the judge’s direction or control. A judge may not direct court personnel to engage in conduct on the judge’s behalf or as the judge’s representative when such conduct would violate the Code if undertaken by the judge.

[2] Public confidence in the judicial system depends upon timely justice. To promote the efficient administration of justice, a judge with supervisory authority must take the steps needed to ensure that judges under his or her supervision administer their workloads promptly.

Rule 2.13 Administrative Appointments

(A) In making administrative appointments, a judge:

(1) shall exercise the power of appointment impartially and on the basis of merit; and

(2) shall avoid nepotism, favoritism, and unnecessary appointments.

(B) A judge shall not approve compensation of appointees beyond the fair value of services rendered.

Comment

[1] Appointees of a judge include assigned counsel, officials such as referees, commissioners, special masters, receivers, and guardians, and personnel such as clerks, secretaries, and bailiffs. Consent by the parties to an appointment or an award of compensation does not relieve the judge of the obligation prescribed by paragraph (A).

[2] Unless otherwise defined by law, nepotism is the appointment or hiring of any relative within the third degree of relationship of either the judge or the judge’s spouse or domestic partner, or the spouse or domestic partner of such relative.

Rule 2.14 Disability and Impairment

A judge having a reasonable belief that the performance of a lawyer or another judge is impaired by drugs or alcohol, or by a mental, emotional, or physical condition, shall take appropriate action, which may include a confidential referral to a lawyer or judicial assistance program.

Comment

[1] “Appropriate action” means action intended and reasonably likely to help the judge or lawyer in question address the problem and prevent harm to the justice system. Depending upon the circumstances, appropriate action may include but is not limited to speaking directly to the impaired person, notifying an individual with supervisory responsibility over the impaired person, or making a referral to an assistance program.

[2] Taking or initiating corrective action by way of referral to an assistance program may satisfy a judge’s responsibility under this Rule. Assistance programs have many approaches for offering help to impaired judges and lawyers, such as intervention, counseling, or referral to appropriate health care professionals. Depending upon the gravity of the conduct that has come to the judge’s attention, however, the judge may be required to take other action, such as reporting the impaired judge or lawyer to the appropriate authority, agency, or body. See Rule 2.15.

Rule 2.15 Responding to Judicial and Lawyer Misconduct

(A) A judge having knowledge that another judge has committed a violation of this Code that raises a substantial question regarding the judge’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a judge in other respects shall inform the appropriate authority.

(B) A judge having knowledge that a lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question regarding the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects shall inform the appropriate authority.

(C) A judge who receives information indicating a substantial likelihood that another judge has committed a violation of this Code shall take appropriate action.

(D) A judge who receives information indicating a substantial likelihood that a lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct shall take appropriate action.

Comment

[1] Taking action to address known misconduct is a judge’s obligation. Paragraphs (A) and (B) impose an obligation on the judge to report to the appropriate disciplinary authority the known misconduct of another judge or a lawyer that raises a substantial question regarding the honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness of that judge or lawyer. Ignoring or denying known misconduct among one’s judicial colleagues or members of the legal profession undermines a judge’s responsibility to participate in efforts to ensure public respect for the justice system. This Rule limits the reporting obligation to those offenses that an independent judiciary must vigorously endeavor to prevent.

[2] A judge who does not have actual knowledge that another judge or a lawyer may have committed misconduct, but receives information indicating a substantial likelihood of such misconduct, is required to take appropriate action under paragraphs (C) and (D). Appropriate action may include, but is not limited to, communicating directly with the judge who may have violated this Code, communicating with a supervising judge, or reporting the suspected violation to the appropriate authority or other agency or body. Similarly, actions to be taken in response to information indicating that a lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct may include but are not limited to communicating directly with the lawyer who may have committed the violation, or reporting the suspected violation to the appropriate authority or other agency or body.

Rule 2.16 Cooperation with Disciplinary Authorities

(A) A judge shall cooperate and be candid and honest with judicial and lawyer disciplinary agencies.

(B) A judge shall not retaliate, directly or indirectly, against a person known or suspected to have assisted or cooperated with an investigation of a judge or a lawyer.

Comment

[1] Cooperation with investigations and proceedings of judicial and lawyer discipline agencies, as required in paragraph (A), instills confidence in judges’ commitment to the integrity of the judicial system and the protection of the public.

CANON 3

A judge shall conduct the judge’s personal and extrajudicial activities to minimize the risk of conflict with the obligations of judicial office.

Rule 3.1 Extrajudicial Activities in General

(A) A judge may engage in extrajudicial activities, except as prohibited by law or this Code. However, when engaging in extrajudicial activities, a judge shall not:

(1) participate in activities that will interfere with the proper performance of the judge’s judicial duties;

(2) participate in activities that will lead to frequent disqualification of the judge;

(3) participate in activities that would appear to a reasonable person to undermine the judge’s independence, integrity, or impartiality;

(4) engage in conduct that would appear to a reasonable person to be coercive; or

(5) make use of court premises, staff, stationery, equipment, or other resources, except for incidental use for activities that concern the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice.

Comment

[1] To the extent that time permits, and judicial independence and impartiality are not compromised, judges are encouraged to engage in appropriate extrajudicial activities. Judges are uniquely qualified to engage in extrajudicial activities that concern the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice, such as by speaking, writing, teaching, or participating in scholarly research projects. In addition, judges are permitted and encouraged to engage in educational, religious, charitable, fraternal or civic extrajudicial activities not conducted for profit, even when the activities do not involve the law. See Rule 3.7.

[2] Participation in both law-related and other extrajudicial activities helps integrate judges into their communities, and furthers public understanding of and respect for courts and the judicial system.

[3] Discriminatory actions and expressions of bias or prejudice by a judge, even outside the judge’s official or judicial actions, are likely to appear to a reasonable person to call into question the judge’s integrity and impartiality. Examples include jokes or other remarks that demean individuals based upon their race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. For the same reason, a judge’s extrajudicial activities must not be conducted in connection or affiliation with an organization that practices invidious discrimination. See Rule 3.6.

[4] While engaged in permitted extrajudicial activities, judges must not coerce others or take action that would reasonably be perceived as coercive. For example, depending upon the circumstances, a judge’s solicitation of contributions or memberships for an organization, even as permitted by Rule 3.7(A), might create the risk that the person solicited would feel obligated to respond favorably, or would do so to curry favor with the judge.

 

 

(B) Avocational Activities.  A judge may speak, write, lecture, teach and participate in other extra-judicial activities concerning the law, the legal system, the administration of justice and non-legal subjects, subject to the requirements of this Code.

(1) A judge who intends to enter into a teaching contract shall obtain written approval, in advance, from the chief justice of the supreme court.

(2) A judge who is otherwise in compliance with the provisions of Canon 2 relating to the precedence of his or her judicial duties and the timely and competent disposition of the business of the court may, in any calendar year derive income from all such avocational activities not to exceed 15% of the judge’s salary.  For good cause shown and in extraordinary circumstances, exceptions to this limitation may be approved, by formal vote of the supreme court. Such approval shall be in writing and shall state the reasons for and terms of the exception.

 

Comment

[1] As a judicial officer and person specially learned in the law, a judge is in a unique position to contribute to the improvement of the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice, including revision of substantive and procedural law and improvement of criminal and juvenile justice.  To the extent that time permits, a judge is encouraged to do so, either independently or through a bar association, judicial conference or other organization dedicated to the improvement of the law.  Judges may participate in efforts to promote the fair administration of justice, the independence of the judiciary and the integrity of the legal profession and may express opposition to the persecution of lawyers and judges in other countries because of their professional activities.

[2] The 15% income limitation is consistent with Title VI of the Ethics Reform Act of 1989, 5 U.S.C. app. 4, sections 501-505, which limits the income that federal judges may receive from quasi-judicial activities.

[3] In this and other sections of Canon 3, the phrase “subject to the requirements of this Code” is used, notably in connection with a judge’s governmental, civic or charitable activities.  This phrase is included to remind judges that the use of permissive language in various sections of the Code does not relieve a judge from the other requirements of the Code that apply to the specific conduct.

Rule 3.2 Appearances before Governmental Bodies and Consultation with Government Officials

A judge shall not appear voluntarily at a public hearing before, or otherwise consult with, an executive or a legislative body or official, except:

(A) in connection with matters concerning the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice;

(B) in connection with matters about which the judge acquired knowledge or expertise in the course of the judge’s judicial duties; or

(C) when the judge is acting pro se in a matter involving the judge’s legal or economic interests, or when the judge is acting in a fiduciary capacity.

Comment

[1] Judges possess special expertise in matters of law, the legal system, and the administration of justice, and may properly share that expertise with governmental bodies and executive or legislative branch officials.

[2] In appearing before governmental bodies or consulting with government officials, judges must be mindful that they remain subject to other provisions of this Code, such as Rule 1.3, prohibiting judges from using the prestige of office to advance their own or others’ interests, Rule 2.10, governing public comment on pending and impending matters, and Rule 3.1(C), prohibiting judges from engaging in extrajudicial activities that would appear to a reasonable person to undermine the judge’s independence, integrity, or impartiality.

[3] In general, it would be an unnecessary and unfair burden to prohibit judges from appearing before governmental bodies or consulting with government officials on matters that are likely to affect them as private citizens, such as zoning proposals affecting their real property. In engaging in such activities, however, judges must not refer to their judicial positions, and must otherwise exercise caution to avoid using the prestige of judicial office.

Rule 3.3 Testifying as a Character Witness

A judge shall not testify as a character witness in a judicial, administrative, or other adjudicatory proceeding or otherwise vouch for the character of a person in a legal proceeding, except when duly summoned.

 

Comment

[1] A judge who, without being subpoenaed, testifies as a character witness abuses the prestige of judicial office to advance the interests of another. See Rule 1.3. Except in unusual circumstances where the demands of justice require, a judge should discourage a party from requiring the judge to testify as a character witness.

[2] Testifying as to the qualifications of a judicial nominee at a confirmation hearing is not to be construed as a violation of this rule.

Rule 3.4 Appointments to Governmental Positions

A judge shall not accept appointment to a governmental committee, board, commission, or other governmental position, unless it is one that concerns the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice. A judge may, however, represent a country, state or locality on ceremonial occasions or in connection with historical, educational or cultural activities.

 

Comment

[1] Rule 3.4 implicitly acknowledges the value of judges accepting appointments to entities that concern the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice. Even in such instances, however, a  judge should assess the appropriateness of accepting an appointment, paying particular attention to the subject matter of the appointment and the availability and allocation of judicial resources, including the judge’s time commitments, and giving due regard to the requirements of the independence and impartiality of the judiciary.

[2] A judge may represent his or her country, state, or locality on ceremonial occasions or in connection with historical, educational, or cultural activities. Such representation does not constitute acceptance of a government position.

Rule 3.5 Use of Nonpublic Information

A judge shall not intentionally disclose or use nonpublic information acquired in a judicial capacity for any purpose unrelated to the judge’s judicial duties.

Comment

[1] In the course of performing judicial duties, a judge may acquire information of commercial or other value that is unavailable to the public. The judge must not reveal or use such information for personal gain or for any purpose unrelated to his or her judicial duties.

[2] This rule is not intended, however, to affect a judge’s ability to act on information as necessary to protect the health or safety of the judge or a member of a judge’s family, court personnel, or other judicial officers if consistent with other provisions of this Code.

Rule 3.6 Affiliation with Discriminatory Organizations

(A) A judge shall not hold membership in any organization that practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

(B) A judge shall not use the benefits or facilities of an organization if the judge knows or should know that the organization practices invidious discrimination on one or more of the bases identified in paragraph (A). A judge’s attendance at an event in a facility of an organization that the judge is not permitted to join is not a violation of this Rule when the judge’s attendance is an isolated event that could not reasonably be perceived as an endorsement of the organization’s practices.

 

Comment

[1] A judge’s public manifestation of approval of invidious discrimination on any basis gives rise to the appearance of impropriety and diminishes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. A judge’s membership in an organization that practices invidious discrimination creates the perception that the judge’s impartiality is impaired.

[2] An organization is generally said to discriminate invidiously if it arbitrarily excludes from membership on the basis of race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or sexual orientation persons who would otherwise be eligible for admission. Whether an organization practices invidious discrimination is a complex question to which judges should be attentive. The answer cannot be determined from a mere examination of an organization’s current membership rolls, but rather, depends upon how the organization selects members, as well as other relevant factors, such as whether the organization is dedicated to the preservation of religious, ethnic, or cultural values of legitimate common interest to its members, or whether it is an intimate, purely private organization whose membership limitations could not constitutionally be prohibited.

[3] When a judge learns that an organization to which the judge belongs engages in invidious discrimination, the judge must resign immediately from the organization.

[4] A judge’s membership in a religious organization as a lawful exercise of the freedom of religion is not a violation of this Rule.

[5] This Rule does not apply to national or state military service.

Rule 3.7 Participation in Educational, Religious, Charitable, Fraternal, or Civic Organizations and Activities

(A) Subject to the requirements of Rule 3.1, a judge may participate in activities sponsored by organizations or governmental entities concerned with the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice, and those sponsored by or on behalf of educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organizations not conducted for profit, including but not limited to the following activities:

(1) assisting such an organization or entity in planning related to fund-raising, and participating in the management and investment of the organization’s or entity’s funds;

(2) soliciting contributions for such an organization or entity, but only from members of the judge’s family, or from judges over whom the judge does not exercise supervisory or appellate authority;

(3) soliciting membership for such an organization or entity, even though the membership dues or fees generated may be used to support the objectives of the organization or entity, but only if the organization or entity is concerned with the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice;

(4) appearing or speaking at, receiving an award or other recognition at, being featured on the program of, and permitting his or her title to be used in connection with an event of such an organization or entity, but if the event serves a fund-raising purpose, the judge may participate only if the event concerns the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice;

(5) making recommendations to such a public or private fund-granting organization or entity in connection with its programs and activities, but only if the organization or entity is concerned with the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice; and

(6) serving as an officer, director, trustee, or nonlegal advisor of such an organization or entity, unless it is likely that the organization or entity:

(a) will be engaged in proceedings that would ordinarily come before the judge; or

(b) will frequently be engaged in adversary proceedings in the court of which the judge is a member, or in any court subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the court of which the judge is a member.

(B) A judge may encourage lawyers to provide pro bono publico legal services.

Comment

[1] The activities permitted by paragraph (A) generally include those sponsored by or undertaken on behalf of public or private not-for-profit educational institutions, and other not-for-profit organizations, including law-related, charitable, and other organizations.

[2] Even for law-related organizations, a judge should consider whether the membership and purposes of the organization, or the nature of the judge’s participation in or association with the organization, would conflict with the judge’s obligation to refrain from activities that reflect adversely upon a judge’s independence, integrity, and impartiality.

[3] Mere attendance at an event, whether or not the event serves a fund-raising purpose, does not constitute a violation of paragraph 4(A). It is also generally permissible for a judge to serve as an usher or a food server or preparer, or to perform similar functions, at fund-raising events sponsored by educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organizations. Such activities are not solicitation and do not present an element of coercion or abuse the prestige of judicial office.

[4] Identification of a judge’s position in educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organizations on letterhead used for fund-raising or membership solicitation does not violate this Rule. The letterhead may list the judge’s title or judicial office if comparable designations are used for other persons.

[5] In addition to appointing lawyers to serve as counsel for indigent parties in individual cases, a judge may promote broader access to justice by encouraging lawyers to participate in pro bono publico legal services, if in doing so the judge does not employ coercion, or abuse the prestige of judicial office. Such encouragement may take many forms, including providing lists of available programs, training lawyers to do pro bono publico legal work, and participating in events recognizing lawyers who have done pro bono publico work.

Rule 3.8 Appointments to Fiduciary Positions

(A) A judge shall not accept appointment to serve in a fiduciary position, such as executor, administrator, trustee, guardian, attorney in fact, or other personal representative, except for the estate, trust, or person of a member of the judge’s family, and then only if such service will not interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties.

(B) A judge shall not serve in a fiduciary position if the judge as fiduciary will likely be engaged in proceedings that would ordinarily come before the judge, or if the estate, trust, or ward becomes involved in adversary proceedings in the court on which the judge serves, or one under its appellate jurisdiction.

(C) A judge acting in a fiduciary capacity shall be subject to the same restrictions on engaging in financial activities that apply to a judge personally.

(D) If a person who is serving in a fiduciary position becomes a judge, he or she must comply with this Rule as soon as reasonably practicable, but in no event later than one year after becoming a judge.

 

Comment

[1] A judge should recognize that other restrictions imposed by this Code may conflict with a judge’s obligations as a fiduciary; in such circumstances, a judge should resign as fiduciary. For example, serving as a fiduciary might require frequent disqualification of a judge under Rule 2.11 because a judge is deemed to have an economic interest in shares of stock held by a trust if the amount of stock held is more than de minimis.

Rule 3.9 Service as Arbitrator or Mediator

(A)  Except as provided in subsection B below, a judge shall not provide services as a private arbitrator or mediator or otherwise perform judicial functions in a private capacity unless expressly authorized by law.

(B) A judge who is in senior active service pursuant to RSA 493-A:1 or who has reached age 70 but continues to sit as a judicial referee pursuant to RSA 493-A:1-a may serve as a private mediator or arbitrator, and may be privately compensated for such services in accordance with this subsection. To the extent the senior judge or judicial referee provides mediation or arbitration services pursuant to Superior Court Rules 30, 32, 33, or 34, he or she shall comply with the certification requirements of those rules.

(1)  A senior judge or judicial referee may be associated with entities that are solely engaged in offering mediation or other alternative dispute resolution services but that are not otherwise engaged in the practice of law.  However, such senior judge or judicial referee shall not associate with a law firm, or advertise or solicit business in a manner that identifies his or her position as a senior active judge or judicial referee or prior service as a judge, but he or she may include the fact of prior service as a judge, along with other background and experience, in a resume or curriculum vitae.

(2)  A senior judge or judicial referee who serves as a mediator or arbitrator shall disclose to the parties to the mediation or arbitration whether he or she has presided over a case involving any party to the mediation or arbitration within the past three years. A senior judge or judicial referee shall not solicit service as a mediator or arbitrator is any case in which he or she is or has presided or in which he or she has ruled upon any issues other than routine scheduling matters, but he or she may serve as a mediator or arbitrator in such a case if requested to do so by all parties to the case; provided, however, that once a senior judge or judicial referee serves as a mediator or arbitrator in such a case, he or she shall not thereafter preside over any aspect of the case or rule upon any issue in the case in a judicial capacity.

(3)  A senior judge or judicial referee shall disclose if he or she is being utilized or has been utilized as a mediator or arbitrator by any party, attorney or law firm involved in the case pending before the senior judge or judicial referee.  Absent express consent from all parties, a senior judge or judicial referee is prohibited from presiding over any case involving any party, attorney or law firm that is utilizing or has utilized the senior judge or judicial referee as a mediator within the previous three years.  A senior judge or judicial referee also shall disclose any negotiations or agreements for the provision of mediation or arbitration services between the senior judge of judicial referee and any of the parties or counsel to the case.

(C) The provisions of subsections (B)(2) and (B)(3) above do not apply when a judge, senior judge or judicial referee is performing mediation or arbitration services for the judicial branch and without private compensation pursuant to Superior Court Rules 30, 32, 33, or 34.

 

Comment

[1] This rule does not prohibit a judge from participating in arbitration, mediation or settlement conferences performed as part of judicial duties.

Rule 3.10 Practice of Law

A judge shall not practice law. A judge may act pro se and may, without compensation, give legal advice to and draft or review documents for a member of the judge’s family, but is prohibited from serving as the family member’s lawyer in any forum.

 

Comment

[1] A judge may act pro se in all legal matters, including matters involving litigation and matters involving appearances before or other dealings with governmental bodies. A judge must not use the prestige of office to advance the judge’s personal or family interests. See Rule 1.3.

Rule 3.11 Financial, Business, or Remunerative Activities

(A) A judge may hold and manage investments of the judge and members of the judge’s family.

(B) A judge shall not serve as an officer, director, manager, general partner, advisor, or employee of any business entity except that a judge may manage or participate in:

(1) a business closely held by the judge or members of the judge’s family; or

(2) a business entity primarily engaged in investment of the financial resources of the judge or members of the judge’s family.

(C) A judge shall not engage in financial activities permitted under paragraphs (A) and (B) if they will:

(1)  interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties;

(2) lead to frequent disqualification of the judge;

(3) involve the judge in frequent transactions or continuing business relationships with lawyers or other persons likely to come before the court on which the judge serves; or

(4) result in violation of other provisions of this Code.

Comment

[1] Judges are generally permitted to engage in financial activities, including managing real estate and other investments for themselves or for members of their families. Participation in these activities, like participation in other extrajudicial activities, is subject to the requirements of this Code. For example, it would be improper for a judge to spend so much time on business activities that it interferes with the performance of judicial duties. See Rule 2.1. Similarly, it would be improper for a judge to use his or her official title or appear in judicial robes in business advertising, or to conduct his or her business or financial affairs in such a way that disqualification is frequently required. See Rules 1.3 and 2.11.

[2] As soon as practicable without serious financial detriment, the judge must divest himself or herself of investments and other financial interests that might require frequent disqualification or otherwise violate this Rule.

Rule 3.12 Compensation for Extrajudicial Activities

Subject to Rule 3.1(B), a judge may accept reasonable compensation for extrajudicial activities permitted by this Code or other law unless such acceptance would appear to a reasonable person to undermine the judge’s independence, integrity, or impartiality.

 

Comment

[1] Subject to Rule 3.1(B), a judge is permitted to accept honoraria, stipends, fees, wages, salaries, royalties, or other compensation for speaking, teaching, writing, and other extrajudicial activities, provided the compensation is reasonable and commensurate with the task performed. The judge should be mindful, however, that judicial duties must take precedence over other activities. See Rule 2.1.

[2] Compensation derived from extrajudicial activities may be subject to public reporting. See Rule 3.15.

Rule 3.13 Acceptance and Reporting of Gifts, Loans, Bequests, Benefits, or Other Things of Value

(A) A judge shall not accept any gifts, loans, bequests, benefits, or other things of value, if acceptance is prohibited by law or would appear to a reasonable person to undermine the judge’s independence, integrity, or impartiality.

(B) Unless otherwise prohibited by law, or by paragraph (A), a judge may accept the following without publicly reporting such acceptance:

(1) items with little intrinsic value, such as plaques, certificates, trophies, and greeting cards;

(2) gifts, loans, bequests, benefits, or other things of value from friends, relatives, or other persons, including lawyers, whose appearance or interest in a proceeding pending or impending before the judge would in any event require disqualification of the judge under Rule 2.11;

(3) ordinary social hospitality;

(4) commercial or financial opportunities and benefits, including special pricing and discounts, and loans from lending institutions in their regular course of business, if the same opportunities and benefits or loans are made available on the same terms to similarly situated persons who are not judges;

(5) rewards and prizes given to competitors or participants in random drawings, contests, or other events that are open to persons who are not judges;

(6) scholarships, fellowships, and similar benefits or awards, if they are available to similarly situated persons who are not judges, based upon the same terms and criteria;

(7) books, magazines, journals, audiovisual materials, and other resource materials supplied by publishers on a complimentary basis for official use; or

(8) gifts, awards, or benefits associated with the business, profession, or other separate activity of a spouse, a domestic partner, or other family member of a judge residing in the judge’s household, but that incidentally benefit the judge.

(C) Unless otherwise prohibited by law or by paragraph (A), a judge may accept the following items, and must report such acceptance to the extent required by Rule 3.15:

(1) gifts incident to a public testimonial;

(2) invitations to the judge and the judge’s spouse, domestic partner, or guest to attend without charge:

(a) an event associated with a bar-related function or other activity relating to the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice; or

(b) an event associated with any of the judge’s educational, religious, charitable, fraternal or civic activities permitted by this Code, if the same invitation is offered to nonjudges who are engaged in similar ways in the activity as is the judge; and

(3) gifts, loans, bequests, benefits, or other things of value, if the source is a party or other person, including a lawyer, who has come or is likely to come before the judge, or whose interests have come or are likely to come before the judge.

 

Comment

[1] Whenever a judge accepts a gift or other thing of value without paying fair market value, there is a risk that the benefit might be viewed as intended to influence the judge’s decision in a case. Rule 3.13 imposes restrictions upon the acceptance of such benefits, according to the magnitude of the risk. Paragraph (B) identifies circumstances in which the risk that the acceptance would appear to undermine the judge’s independence, integrity, or impartiality is low, and explicitly provides that such items need not be publicly reported. As the value of the benefit or the likelihood that the source of the benefit will appear before the judge increases, the judge is either prohibited under paragraph (A) from accepting the gift, or required under paragraph (C) to publicly report it.

[2] Gift-giving between friends and relatives is a common occurrence, and ordinarily does not create an appearance of impropriety or cause reasonable persons to believe that the judge’s independence, integrity, or impartiality has been compromised. In addition, when the appearance of friends or relatives in a case would require the judge’s disqualification under Rule 2.11, there would be no opportunity for a gift to influence the judge’s decision making. Paragraph (B)(2) places no restrictions upon the ability of a judge to accept gifts or other things of value from friends or relatives under these circumstances, and does not require public reporting.

[3] Businesses and financial institutions frequently make available special pricing, discounts, and other benefits, either in connection with a temporary promotion or for preferred customers, based upon longevity of the relationship, volume of business transacted, and other factors. A judge may freely accept such benefits if they are available to the general public, or if the judge qualifies for the special price or discount according to the same criteria as are applied to persons who are not judges. As an example, loans provided at generally prevailing interest rates are not gifts, but a judge could not accept a loan from a financial institution at below-market interest rates unless the same rate was being made available to the general public for a certain period of time or only to borrowers with specified qualifications that the judge also possesses.

[4] Rule 3.13 applies only to acceptance of gifts or other things of value by a judge. Nonetheless, if a gift or other benefit is given to the judge’s spouse, domestic partner, or member of the judge’s family residing in the judge’s household, it may be viewed as an attempt to evade Rule 3.13 and influence the judge indirectly. Where the gift or benefit is being made primarily to such other persons, and the judge is merely an incidental beneficiary, this concern is reduced.  A judge should, however, remind family and household members of the restrictions imposed upon judges, and urge them to take these restrictions into account when making decisions about accepting such gifts or benefits.

Rule 3.14 Reimbursement of Expenses and Waivers of Fees or Charges

(A) Unless otherwise prohibited by Rules 3.1 and 3.13(A) or other law, a judge may accept reimbursement of necessary and reasonable expenses for travel, food, lodging, or other incidental expenses, or a waiver or partial waiver of fees or charges for registration, tuition, and similar items, from sources other than the judge’s employing entity, if the expenses or charges are associated with the judge’s participation in extrajudicial activities permitted by this Code.

(B) Reimbursement of expenses for necessary travel, food, lodging, or other incidental expenses shall be limited to the actual costs reasonably incurred by the judge and, when appropriate to the occasion, by the judge’s spouse, domestic partner, or guest.

(C) A judge who accepts reimbursement of expenses or waivers or partial waivers of fees or charges on behalf of the judge or the judge’s spouse, domestic partner, or guest shall publicly report such acceptance as required by Rule 3.15.

 

Comment

[1] Educational, civic, religious, fraternal, and charitable organizations often sponsor meetings, seminars, symposia, dinners, awards ceremonies, and similar events. Judges are encouraged to attend educational programs, as both teachers and participants, in law-related and academic disciplines, in furtherance of their duty to remain competent in the law. Participation in a variety of other extrajudicial activity is also permitted and encouraged by this Code.

[2] Not infrequently, sponsoring organizations invite certain judges to attend seminars or other events on a fee-waived or partial-fee-waived basis, and sometimes include reimbursement for necessary travel, food, lodging, or other incidental expenses. A judge’s decision whether to accept reimbursement of expenses or a waiver or partial waiver of fees or charges in connection with these or other extrajudicial activities must be based upon an assessment of all the circumstances. The judge must undertake a reasonable inquiry to obtain the information necessary to make an informed judgment about whether acceptance would be consistent with the requirements of this Code.

[3] A judge must assure himself or herself that acceptance of reimbursement or fee waivers would not appear to a reasonable person to undermine the judge’s independence, integrity, or impartiality. The factors that a judge should consider when deciding whether to accept reimbursement or a fee waiver for attendance at a particular activity include:

(a) whether the sponsor is an accredited educational institution or bar association rather than a trade association or a for-profit entity;

(b) whether the funding comes largely from numerous contributors rather than from a single entity and is earmarked for programs with specific content;

(c) whether the content is related or unrelated to the subject matter of litigation pending or impending before the judge, or to matters that are likely to come before the judge;

(d) whether the activity is primarily educational rather than recreational, and whether the costs of the event are reasonable and comparable to those associated with similar events sponsored by the judiciary, bar associations, or similar groups;

(e) whether information concerning the activity and its funding sources is available upon inquiry;

(f) whether the sponsor or source of funding is generally associated with particular parties or interests currently appearing or likely to appear in the judge’s court, thus possibly requiring disqualification of the judge under Rule 2.11;

(g) whether differing viewpoints are presented; and

(h) whether a broad range of judicial and nonjudicial participants are invited, whether a large number of participants are invited, and whether the program is designed specifically for judges.

Rule 3.15 Reporting Requirements

(A)  For each calendar year up to and including calendar year 2006, a judge shall report on or before April 15 of each year, with respect to the preceding calendar year, whether or not the judge has received any compensation other than judicial salary, and, if so, the nature of the activity for which the compensation was received, the name of the payor and the amount of the compensation so received.  The report shall be filed as a public document in the office of the clerk of the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

(B)  For calendar year 2007, and each calendar year thereafter, a judge shall file a fully-completed New Hampshire Judicial Branch Financial Disclosure Statement on or before April 15 of each year, with respect to the preceding calendar year. The New Hampshire Judicial Branch Financial Disclosure Statement shall be filed as a public document in the office of the clerk of the New Hampshire Supreme Court.  The form of the New Hampshire Judicial Branch Financial Disclosure Statement shall be approved, by order, by the New Hampshire Supreme Court, and shall require at a minimum that a judge report whether or not the judge has received any compensation other than judicial salary, and, if so, the nature of the activity for which the compensation was received.  Blank forms may be obtained by request from the clerk of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, and shall also be available on the New Hampshire Judicial Branch website.

Comment

[1]  Disclosure of a judge’s income, debts, investments or other assets is required only to the extent provided in this Canon and in Rule 2.11, or as otherwise required by law.

CANON 4

A JUDGE OR JUDICIAL CANDIDATE SHALL REFRAIN FROM INAPPROPRIATE POLITICAL ACTIVITY.

Rule 4.1 Political Conduct in General

(A) A judge shall not:

(1)  act as a leader or hold any office in a political organization;

(2)  make speeches for a political organization or candidate or publicly endorse a candidate for public office;

(3) solicit funds for or pay an assessment or make a contribution to a political organization or candidate, attend political gatherings, or purchase tickets for political party dinners, or other functions.

(B)  A judge shall resign from judicial office upon becoming a candidate either in a party primary or in a general election, except that the judge may continue to hold judicial office while being a candidate for election to or serving as a delegate in a state constitutional convention or a moderator of any governmental unit, if the judge is otherwise permitted by law to do so.

(C)  A judge shall not engage in any other political activity except on behalf of measures to improve the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice.

Rule 4.2 Judicial Candidates

(A)  A candidate for judicial office:

(1)  shall maintain the dignity appropriate for judicial office and act in a  manner consistent with the impartiality, integrity and independence of the judiciary, and shall encourage members of the candidate’s family to adhere to the same standards of political conduct in support of the candidate as apply to candidate; and

(2)  shall not:

(a)  with respect to cases, controversies, or issues that are likely to come before the court, make pledges, promises or commitments that are inconsistent with the impartial performance of the adjudicative duties of the office; or

(b)  knowingly misrepresent the identity, qualifications, present position or other fact concerning the candidate or any other candidate or potential candidate.

 

Comment

[1] Section 4.2(A) prohibits a candidate for judicial office from making statements that commit the candidate regarding cases, controversies or issues likely to come before the court.  As a corollary, a candidate should emphasize in any public statement the candidate’s duty to uphold the law regardless of his or her personal views.  See also Section 2.10, the general rule on public comment by judges.  Section 4.2(A)(2) does not prohibit a candidate from making pledges or promises respecting improvements in court administration.  Nor does this Section prohibit an incumbent judge from making private statements to other judges or court personnel in  the performance of judicial duties.  This Section applies to any statement made in the process of securing judicial office, such as statements to commissions charged with recommending judicial selection and executive officials and bodies charged with nominating or confirming appointment.  See also Rule 8.2 of the NH Rules of Professional Conduct.

[2] This section is not intended to prohibit a judge from attending a candidates’ night to which all candidates for a particular office have been invited.

Rule 38-A. ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON JUDICIAL ETHICS.

(1) Authority and purpose. Pursuant to the supreme court’s constitutional and statutory authority, there is hereby established an advisory committee on judicial ethics. The purpose of the committee is to provide guidance to judges about compliance with rules of court and statutes relating to the ethical and professional conduct of judges.

(2) Membership of Committee; Terms; Chair; Quorum. The committee shall consist of five persons, appointed by the supreme court, who are qualified to render advice on judicial ethics, including at least three judges or retired judges. No justice currently serving on the supreme court shall be a member of the committee. The members of the committee shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties.

When the committee is first appointed, two members shall be appointed to three-year terms, two members shall be appointed to two-year terms, and one member shall be appointed to a one-year term. On the expiration of the term of office of a member, a successor shall be appointed to a term of three years. Members may be reappointed to the committee, but no member shall be appointed to more than two successive full terms.

The committee shall select one of its members to serve as chair of the committee, and another to serve as vice-chair. A quorum shall consist of three members. The court shall designate a person to serve as the secretary and administrative support to the committee.

(3) Duties and Jurisdiction.

(a) The committee shall render advisory opinions with respect to the interpretation of rules of court and statutes relating to the ethical and professional conduct of judges. Any person whose conduct is subject to the Code of Judicial Conduct may request an advisory opinion about the propriety of his or her proposed conduct.

(b) The committee shall not render opinions regarding the proposed conduct of someone other than the person submitting the request, except that the committee may respond to a request from a judge about a person subject to the judge’s direction and control or over whom the judge has supervisory responsibilities, or from a judge about the judge’s relatives.

(c) The committee shall only issue opinions that address contemplated or proposed future conduct and shall not issue opinions addressing past or current conduct unless the past or current conduct relates to future conduct or is continuing. The committee shall not issue an opinion in response to a request when the facts are known to be the subject of past or pending litigation or disciplinary investigation or proceedings.

(d) The committee may, in its discretion, decline to respond to a request for opinion if it determines that a response would be inappropriate or would not aid the judge, benefit the judiciary as a whole, or serve the public interest.

(e) The committee shall not issue an advisory opinion that interprets any statute, rule or regulation that does not relate to judicial ethics.

(4) Procedure and Opinions.

(a) By the concurrence of a majority of its members and subject to the approval of the court, the committee may adopt rules of procedure relating to requests for advisory opinions and the issuance of opinions.

(b) The committee may render written opinions only by an affirmative vote of at least three members.

(c) All opinions shall be advisory only, and no opinion shall be binding on the judicial conduct committee in the exercise of its judicial discipline responsibilities. However, the judicial conduct committee and the supreme court, may, in their discretion, consider compliance with an advisory opinion by the requesting individual to be evidence of a good faith effort to comply with the Code of Judicial Conduct, provided that compliance with an opinion issued to one judge shall not be considered evidence of good faith of another judge unless the underlying facts are substantially the same.

(d) The committee may publish its opinions but the name of the judge requesting the opinion and any other identifying information shall not be included in a published opinion unless the judge consents to such inclusion.

(5) Report. In January of each year, the committee shall submit to the court a report of its activities together with any recommendations.

Rule 39. Committee on Judicial Conduct.

(1) Authority

Pursuant to the supreme court’s constitutional and statutory authority, and to provide for the orderly and efficient administration of the Code of Judicial Conduct, Rule 38 of the Rules of the Supreme Court, there is hereby established a committee on judicial conduct.

(2) Appointment of Committee

(a) The committee on judicial conduct shall consist of eleven members and eleven alternate members.  Alternate members may participate in committee proceedings only as specifically provided in this rule.

(1) One member and one alternate member who shall each be an active or retired justice of the superior court; and two members and two alternate members who shall be active or retired circuit court judges, all of whom shall be appointed by the supreme court.

(2) One member and one alternate member who shall each be an active or retired clerk of court and who shall be appointed by the supreme court.

(3) One member and one alternate member who shall each be a New Hampshire Bar Association member and who shall be appointed by the president of the New Hampshire Bar Association.

(4) One public member and one alternate public member, who shall not be a judge, attorney, clerk of court, or elected or appointed public official, shall be appointed by the president of the New Hampshire Bar Association.

(5)  One public member and one alternate public member, who shall not be a judge, attorney, clerk of court, or elected or appointed public official, shall be appointed by the supreme court.

(6)  Two public members and two alternate public members, who shall not be judges, attorneys, clerks of court, or elected or appointed public officials, shall be appointed by the Governor.

(7)  One public member and one alternate public member, who shall not be a judge, clerk of court, or attorney, shall be appointed by the president of the Senate.

(8)  One public member and one alternate public member, who shall not be a judge, clerk of court, or attorney, shall be appointed by the speaker of the House.

(b) Committee Address

The committee address shall be determined by the committee.

(3) Terms of Office

(a) Each member serving on July 1, 2005, shall continue to serve as a member until his or her successor is appointed.  The initial term of members appointed after July 1, 2005, which may include appointments of members who were serving on July 1, 2005, shall be for a three-year term.

The initial term of all alternate members appointed shall be for three years.

(b) All terms after the initial appointments shall be for three years.

(c) A member may serve a maximum of three successive terms, all of which commenced after July 1, 2005.  After the expiration of the member’s third successive term, the member may not again be appointed to the committee, either as a member or as an alternate member, until three years after the date of the member’s last day as a member of the committee.  An alternate member may serve an unlimited number of terms as an alternate.

(d)  If any appointing authority other than the supreme court fails to appoint a member or an alternate member to fill a vacancy for a period of three months following the date upon which notice is sent to the appointing authority informing the appointing authority of the vacancy, the supreme court may appoint a member or alternate member to fill the vacancy.  The person appointed shall have the same qualifications as would have been required had the appointing authority filled the vacancy.

(4) Vacancy and Disqualification

(a) A vacancy in the office of the committee shall occur

(1) when the term of a member or alternate member expires; provided, however, that such member or alternate member shall continue to serve until his or her successor is appointed; or

(2) when a judge who is a member or alternate member of the committee ceases to hold the office which he or she held at the time of selection; or

(3) when a lawyer ceases to be in good standing in all jurisdictions where admitted to practice law, or is appointed to a judicial office or as a clerk of court; or

(4) when a public member or alternate public member becomes a lawyer, clerk of court, or a judge; or

(5)  when a public member or alternate public member appointed by the Governor or the President of the New Hampshire Bar Association becomes an elected or appointed public official; or

(6) when a member or alternate member ceases to be domiciled in New Hampshire; or

(7) when a clerk of court who is a member or alternate member of the committee ceases to hold the office which he or she held at the time of selection; or

(8)  when a member or alternate member is removed from office by the committee as provided in paragraph 10; or

(9)  when a member or alternate member ceases to hold office by submitting his or her resignation to the committee or otherwise.

(b) A vacancy shall be filled by selection of a successor with the same qualifications as those required for the selection of his or her predecessor in office. A member or alternate member selected to fill a vacancy shall hold office for the unexpired term of his or her predecessor.

(c) No member shall participate in any proceedings before the committee involving his or her own conduct or the conduct of any other member.  No alternate member shall participate in any proceedings before the committee involving his or her own conduct.

(d) No member or alternate member shall participate in any proceeding in which his or her impartiality might reasonably be questioned.

(e) Whenever a member is disqualified from participating in a particular proceeding, or is unable to participate by reason of prolonged absence or physical or mental incapacity, an alternate member may be assigned by the chair to participate in any such proceeding or for the period of any such disability, provided that said alternate member shall have been appointed by the same appointing authority as the member who is being replaced, and shall have the same qualifications as those required for the selection of the member who is being replaced.  If, however, due to disqualification or incapacity, there is no alternate member who was appointed by the same appointing authority with the same qualifications who is able to participate, then the chair may assign any other alternate member to participate in the proceeding or for the period of the member’s disability.

(5) Expenses of the Committee and Staff

(a) The committee’s budget shall be a separate PAU within the judicial branch budget.  The committee shall prepare its own budget request. The budget request and such additional information as may be requested shall be submitted to the director of the administrative office of the courts for inclusion in the judicial branch budget request in the amounts requested.  Expenses approved for payment by the committee shall be paid by the administrative office of the courts from funds appropriated for the judicial conduct committee.

(b) Members and alternate members shall serve without compensation for their services, but shall be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties, subject to the availability of funds.

(c) The committee shall appoint an executive secretary and such other persons as may be necessary to assist the committee in its work. The executive secretary shall perform the duties and responsibilities prescribed by this rule and Supreme Court Rule 40, and such other duties and responsibilities as the committee may determine from time to time. He or she shall notify the appropriate appointing authority whenever a member’s or alternate member’s term expires or a vacancy in the office of the committee otherwise occurs.  He or she shall receive all grievances, information, and inquiries, and process the same under the direction and supervision of the committee. The executive secretary shall maintain the committee’s records, maintain statistics concerning the operation of the committee, and prepare an annual report of the committee’s activities for presentation to the committee. He or she shall coordinate investigations ordered by the committee, and ensure that they are conducted discreetly and with dispatch. Subject to the direction and control of the committee, and subject to the availability of appropriated funds, the executive secretary shall have charge of the disbursement of expense funds. Generally, the executive secretary shall supervise the work of other personnel employed by the committee, direct the activities of the committee’s office, and endeavor to keep members of the committee properly informed about its business.

(d) The committee may employ counsel. The duties of counsel shall be determined by the committee.

(e) The committee may employ such private investigators, experts and other personnel as the committee in its discretion deems necessary for the efficient discharge of its duties.

(f) The committee shall select its own office space, which should not be in the facilities of any branch of government.

(6) Quorum and Chairperson

(a) A quorum for the transaction of business by the committee shall be six members; provided, however, that no formal charges shall be instituted or unfavorable action taken against a judge except upon the affirmative vote of at least seven members. Except as otherwise provided in this rule or in Supreme Court Rule 40, no act of the committee shall be valid unless concurred in by six of its members.

Members of the committee may participate in a meeting of the committee by means of a conference telephone or similar communications equipment, provided all persons participating in the meeting can hear each other. Participation by these means shall constitute presence in person at a meeting. These procedures shall not be used for hearings.

(b) If a quorum of the committee cannot be obtained by reason of the disqualification or absence of members thereof, the chair or the executive secretary may request that one or more alternate members act as a temporary replacement or replacements. Any such temporary replacement shall have been appointed by the same appointing authority and have the same qualifications as the member replaced.

(c) The committee shall designate the chair and vice-chair of the committee. The vice-chair shall act as chair in the absence of the chair. In the absence of both the chair and the vice-chair, the members present may select one among them to act as temporary chair.

(7) Meetings of the Committee

(a) Meetings of the committee shall be held at the call of the chair, the vice-chair, or the executive secretary or at the written request of three members of the committee.

(b) The committee may, by vote, establish regular or stated meeting dates.

(c) The business of the committee may be transacted by telephone, exchange of correspondence, or other informal poll of members, unless one or more members object; provided, however, that no formal charges shall be instituted or unfavorable action taken against a judge except upon deliberation and the affirmative vote of at least seven members who are physically present at a meeting of the committee.

(8) Annual Report

On or before March 1 of each year, the committee shall prepare a report summarizing its activities during the preceding calendar year. Upon approval of the report by the committee, a copy of the report shall be filed with the Governor, the president of the Senate, the speaker of the House, the chief justice of the supreme court, the chairpersons of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, and shall be made available to the public.

(9) Powers and Duties of the Committee

The committee shall have the power and the duty:

(a) to consider and investigate the conduct of any judge, as that term is defined in Rule 40(2), within the jurisdiction of this court and may initiate an inquiry on its own motion in accordance with Rule 40(6) or undertake an investigation upon grievance or complaint filed by any person;

(b) to retain counsel as may from time to time be required to properly perform the functions prescribed by the committee, subject to the availability of appropriated funds;

(c) to retain such investigative and other personnel as the committee shall deem necessary, and to select its own office space, which should not be in the facilities of any branch of government, both subject to the availability of appropriated funds;

(d) to dismiss a grievance or complaint when the grievant lacks standing, the committee lacks jurisdiction over the grievance or complaint, the grievance or complaint is insufficient or there is insufficient cause to proceed, or the period of limitations set forth in Rule 40(4)(c) has expired;

(e) to dispose of a grievance or complaint by informal resolution or adjustment prior to the filing of formal charges or after a hearing on formal charges;

(f) to prepare and file a statement of formal charges when appropriate;

(g) to hold a public hearing on a statement of formal charges, during which hearing counsel shall have the burden of establishing by clear and convincing evidence a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct;

(h) to institute disciplinary proceedings in the supreme court when appropriate;

(i) to educate the public on the general functions and procedures of the Committee.

(10) Attendance at Meetings; Removal of Members

(a) Committee members shall be expected to attend all meetings of the committee. The chair shall be authorized to excuse the attendance of committee members from any meeting for good cause. The chair is authorized to discuss with members whether continued service on the committee is justified when meetings are frequently missed.

(b) The chair, with the concurrence of a majority of the committee, shall be authorized to remove a member or alternate member for cause, including unexcused or frequent absences or serious violations of the rules governing the committee. Prior to any vote by the committee on removal, the chair shall provide the member or alternate member with a written statement of the reasons for which his or her removal is sought. The member or alternate member shall have the right to file a written response within ten days, copies of which shall be provided to all other members of the committee by the executive secretary. The member or alternate member shall have the right to attend the meeting at which removal is sought, and to speak prior to the committee’s vote. The committee may hold such further proceedings as it deems necessary in its sole discretion prior to voting on removal.

 

https://www.courts.nh.gov/rules-supreme-court-state-new-hampshire – From NH Supreme Court January 2023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paralegal Services

Business Law

Mauris blandit aliquet elit, eget tincidunt nibh pulvinar a. Curabitur arcu erat, accumsan id imperdiet et, porttitor at sem. Quisque velit nisi, pretium ut lacinia in, elementum id enim. Cras ultricies ligula sed magna dictum

Business Law

Mauris blandit aliquet elit, eget tincidunt nibh pulvinar a. Curabitur arcu erat, accumsan id imperdiet et, porttitor at sem. Quisque velit nisi, pretium ut lacinia in, elementum id enim. Cras ultricies ligula sed magna dictum

Business Law

Mauris blandit aliquet elit, eget tincidunt nibh pulvinar a. Curabitur arcu erat, accumsan id imperdiet et, porttitor at sem. Quisque velit nisi, pretium ut lacinia in, elementum id enim. Cras ultricies ligula sed magna dictum

Business Law

Mauris blandit aliquet elit, eget tincidunt nibh pulvinar a. Curabitur arcu erat, accumsan id imperdiet et, porttitor at sem. Quisque velit nisi, pretium ut lacinia in, elementum id enim. Cras ultricies ligula sed magna dictum

Business Law

Mauris blandit aliquet elit, eget tincidunt nibh pulvinar a. Curabitur arcu erat, accumsan id imperdiet et, porttitor at sem. Quisque velit nisi, pretium ut lacinia in, elementum id enim. Cras ultricies ligula sed magna dictum

Business Law

Mauris blandit aliquet elit, eget tincidunt nibh pulvinar a. Curabitur arcu erat, accumsan id imperdiet et, porttitor at sem. Quisque velit nisi, pretium ut lacinia in, elementum id enim. Cras ultricies ligula sed magna dictum

Get Started

Get a Free Consultation

Consult@diviparalegal.com

(245) 325-7896

1234 Divi St. San Francisco, CA 23512

Open Everyday from 8am-5pm

Testimonials

Mauris blandit aliquet elit, eget tincidunt nibh pulvinar a. Curabitur arcu erat, accumsan id imperdiet et, porttitor at sem. Quisque velit nisi, pretium ut lacinia in, elementum id enim. Cras ultricies ligula sed magna dictum

John Doe

Mauris blandit aliquet elit, eget tincidunt nibh pulvinar a. Curabitur arcu erat, accumsan id imperdiet et, porttitor at sem. Quisque velit nisi, pretium ut lacinia in, elementum id enim. Cras ultricies ligula sed magna dictum

John Doe

Mauris blandit aliquet elit, eget tincidunt nibh pulvinar a. Curabitur arcu erat, accumsan id imperdiet et, porttitor at sem. Quisque velit nisi, pretium ut lacinia in, elementum id enim. Cras ultricies ligula sed magna dictum

John Doe

Mauris blandit aliquet elit, eget tincidunt nibh pulvinar a. Curabitur arcu erat, accumsan id imperdiet et, porttitor at sem. Quisque velit nisi, pretium ut lacinia in, elementum id enim. Cras ultricies ligula sed magna dictum

John Doe

Stop the Silver Bullet – Civil Domestic Violence Fraud

The "Silver Bullet" is a legal technique in which a parent claims domestic violence to gain strategic advantage in family court. This includes child support, custody, parenting time, decision making ability. They typically get complete control of the children and...

Family Courts and Judges – January 2024 Legal Notes

Family Courts and Judicial Immunity Here are some notes from my personal legal research looking into the family courts, family court judges and the constitutionality. Family Court Judges appear to be administrative officers and not protected by Judicial Immunity. In...

Constitutional Violations by Government for 1983 Actions

United States Constitution - Federal 5th Amendment 14th Amendment State Constitution and Laws New Hampshire Constitution Article 3 - Consideration [Art.] 3. [Society, its Organization and Purposes.] When men enter into a state of society, they surrender up some...

New Hampshire Child Support Laws

Here are some laws and legal notes found regarding Child Support in the State of New Hampshire. Relevant family case law for the care of children and legal argument. Laws may be similar in your state. Example - In 1955, New Hampshire enacted the Uniform Civil...

Affidavits Are Fact

"Indeed, no more than affidavits is necessary to make the prima facie case.” [United States v. Kis, 658 F.2d 526, 536 (7th Cir. 1981); Cert. Denied, 50 U.S. L. W. 2169; S. Ct. March 22, 1982]" “Defendant has filed no counter-affidavit, and therefore for the purposes...

How to Sue New Hampshire State Government

If you have been hurt by the government and ask yourself - "How do I Sue New Hampshire"? We hope this article helps you keep our government accountable. How To Sue New Hampshire Government The government and it's officials are supposed to do what we want, without...

October 2023 Legal Notes

These links are some of the legal links and news that I have been gathering in October of 2023. Laws, Rules, Opinions and articles I've found in my research this month. I've also included some articles I wrote on various legal topics this month. I typically go on a...

Coercion Verses Persuasion – Coerced Crimes

Coercion is illegal. For Good reason - it is a force that uses power, affecting the freewill of the person coerced. Persuasion is allowing the other person a choice. I wrote this before looking up the definitions. People know what things mean. The Definition of...

Common Judicial Conduct Complaints – New Hampshire

Rule 38. Code of Judicial Conduct PREAMBLE [1] An independent, fair and impartial judiciary is indispensable to our system of justice. The United States legal system is based upon the principle that an independent, impartial, and competent judiciary, composed of men...

New Hampshire State Constitutional Claims

The amount of money awarded in the constitutional cases in New Hampshire that I have found varies depending on the case and the court. Here are some examples: In Parental Rights Project v. Sununu, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ordered the state to pay $15,000...

Get Started For  Free

Consult@diviparalegal.com

(245) 325-7896

1234 Divi St. San Francisco, CA 23512

Open Everyday from 8am-5pm