January 26, 2006
Note: Please see Joint Opinion 15-26/15-44, which provides a broad overview of prior opinions about attending domestic violence related events. Joint Opinion 15-26/15-44 modifies Opinions 08-191, 06-05 and 05-62 "to the extent they preclude a judge from merely attending any event whatever run by a domestic violence advocacy organization which solely serves domestic violence victims."
This is in response to your inquiry (06-05) asking the Committee to clarify Opinion 05-62, which advises that a judge should not attend functions sponsored by a domestic violence advocacy organization that focuses on providing court-related services solely on behalf of domestic violence victims.
The Committee adheres to the conclusion set forth in Opinion 05-62. Even if the domestic violence advocacy organization that is the subject of the opinion provides services that are not connected directly with court proceedings, it is clear from the facts provided by you and the original inquirer that the organization provides services only to domestic violence victims. In the Committee’s view, judges’ participation in functions sponsored by such an organization can give rise to an appearance of partiality and should be avoided.