Dist. Court Judges & Trial Comm’rs v. Ethics Comm.

The Jefferson County District Court Judges and Trial Commissioners petitioned the Supreme Court to review Judicial Ethics Opinion JE-212, in which the Ethics Committee of the Kentucky Judiciary determined that a judge's staff attorney or law clerk could not be appointed to the additional position of trial commissioner even if the time spent in each position would be separately accounted for, or if the staff attorney/law clerk did not work on anything she had worked on as a trial commissioner, and vice versa. The Supreme Court vacated the Opinion, holding (1) in this case there was no violation of the trial commissioner's ethical requirement to give first place to his judicial duties because the position of a trial commissioner is part-time; and (2) although there is a potential appearance of impropriety where a district court trial commissioner also serves as a staff attorney for a court of the same judicial district, the limited situations in which this may arise does not justify the blanket exclusion of all judicial staff attorneys from serving as trial commissioners. View "Dist. Court Judges & Trial Comm'rs v. Ethics Comm." on Justia Law