September 22, 2008
Dear Judge :
This responds to your inquiry (08-155) in which you ask whether you are obligated to report to the appropriate authorities that a litigant in a matter pending before you testified to violating the terms of a prior criminal conviction/probation and to receiving federal social security disability benefits, which, as you point out, is prohibited by federal statute.
This Committee has previously concluded that there is no ethical requirement that a judge must report criminal or other misconduct by litigants or witnesses disclosed in cases before a judge. A judge may, however, choose to report such criminal or other misconduct. Whether to do so is a matter of discretion, and would depend on a variety of circumstances, including, inter alia, the likelihood of injury if the conduct were not reported.
Opinions 06-13 and 03-110 address this issue, and we have enclosed them for your convenience.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow
Justice of the Supreme Court