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State of Washington

Code of Judicial Conduct - Application



The Application section establishes when the various Rules apply to a judge,court commissioner, judge pro tempore or judicial candidate.

  1. Applicability of This Code
    1. A judge, within the meaning of this Code, is anyone who is authorized to perform judicial functions, including an officer such as a magistrate, court commissioner, special master, referee, part-time judge or judge pro tempore.
    2. The provisions of the Code apply to all judges except as otherwise noted for part-time judges and judges pro tempore.
    3. All judges who hold a position that is subject to election shall comply with all provisions of Rules 4.1 (Political and Campaign Activities of Judges and Judicial Candidates in General), 4.2 (Political and Campaign Activities of Judicial Candidates in Public Elections), 4.3 (Activities of Candidates for Appointive Judicial Office), 4.4 (Campaign Committees), and 4.5 (Activities of Judges Who Become Candidates for Nonjudicial Office). Rules 4.1 (Political and Campaign Activities of Judges and Judicial Candidates in General), 4.2 (Political and Campaign Activities of Judicial Candidates in Public Elections), 4.3 (Activities of Candidates for Appointive Judicial Office) and 4.4 (Campaign Committees) apply to judicial candidates.
    4. All judges shall comply with statutory requirements applicable to their position with respect to reporting and disclosure of financial affairs.

    Comment

    1. The Rules in this Code have been formulated to address the ethical obligations of any person who serves a judicial function, and are premised upon the supposition that a uniform system of ethical principles should apply to all those authorized to perform judicial functions.
    2. This Code and its Rules do not apply to any person who serves as an administrative law judge or in a judicial capacity within an administrative agency.
    3. The determination of whether an individual judge is exempt from specific Rules depends upon the facts of the particular judicial service.
    4. The Legislature has authorized counties to establish and operate drug courts and mental health courts. Judges presiding in these special courts are subject to these Rules, including Rule 2.9 (A)(1) on ex parte communications, and must continue to operate within the usual judicial role as an independent decision maker on issues of fact and law. But the Rules should be applied with the recognition that these courts may properly operate with less formality of demeanor and procedure than is typical of more traditional courts. Application of the rules should also be attentive to the terms and waivers in any contract to which the individual whose conduct is being monitored has agreed in exchange for being allowed to participate in the special court program.

  2. Part-Time Judge
    1. part-time judge is not required to comply:
      1. with Rule 2.10 (Judicial Statements on Pending and Impending Cases), except while serving as a judge; or
      2. at any time with Rules 3.4 (Appointments to Governmental Positions), 3.8 (Appointments to Fiduciary Positions), 3.9 (Service as Arbitrator or Mediator), 3.10 (Practice of Law), 3.11 (Financial, Business, or Remunerative Activities), and 3.14 (Reimbursement of Expenses and Waivers of Fees or Charges).
    2. A part-time judge 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. When a person who has been a part-time judge is no longer a part-time judge, that person may act as a lawyer in a proceeding in which he or she served as a judge or in any other proceeding related thereto only with the express consent of all parties pursuant to the Rules of Professional Conduct.

    Comment

    1. Part-time judges should be alert to the possibility of conflicts of interest and should liberally disclose on the record to litigants appearing before them the fact of any extrajudicial employment or other judicial role, even if there is no apparent reason to withdraw.
    2. In view of Rule 2.1, which provides that the judicial duties of judges should take precedence over all other activities, part-time judges should not engage in outside employment which would interfere with their ability to sit on cases that routinely come before them.

  3. Judge Pro Tempore

  4. A judge pro tempore is not required to comply:

    1. except while serving as a judge, with Rule 1.2 (Promoting Confidence in the Judiciary), Rule 2.4 (External Influences on Judicial Conduct), Rule 2.10 (Judicial Statements on Pending and Impending Cases); or Rule 3.1 (Extrajudicial Activities in General); or
    2. at any time with Rules 3.2 (Appearances before Governmental Bodies and Consultation with Government Officials), 3.3 (Acting as a Character Witness), or 3.4 (Appointments to Governmental Positions), or with Rules 3.6 (Affiliation with Discriminatory Organizations), 3.7 (Participation in Educational, Religious, Charitable, Fraternal, or Civic Organizations and Activities), 3.8 (Appointments to Fiduciary Positions), 3.9 (Service as Arbitrator or Mediator), 3.10 (Practice of Law), 3.11 (Financial, Business, or Remunerative Activities), or 3.12 (Compensation for Extrajudicial Activities)
    3. A judge pro tempore 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.
    4. When a person who has been a judge pro tempore is no longer a judge pro tempore, that person may act as a lawyer in a proceeding in which he or she served as a judge or in any other proceeding related thereto only with the express consent of all parties pursuant to the Rules of Professional Conduct.

  5. Time For Compliance

  6. A person to whom this Code becomes applicable shall comply immediately with its provisions, except that those judges to whom Rules 3.8 (Appointments to Fiduciary Positions) and 3.11 (Financial, Business, or Remunerative Activities) apply shall comply with those Rules as soon as reasonably possible, but in no event later than one year after the Code becomes applicable to the judge.

    Comment

    1. If serving as a fiduciary when selected as judge, a new judge may, notwithstanding the prohibitions in Rule 3.8, continue to serve as fiduciary, but only for that period of time necessary to avoid serious adverse consequences to the beneficiaries 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 Rule 3.11, continue in that activity for a reasonable period but in no event longer than one year.