October 6, 1989
At its meeting on September 12, 1989, the Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics considered your inquiry (89-97) of July 28, 1989, asking if a conflict exists prohibiting a judge from making a community service assignment to the Department of Public Works as part of a defendant's sentence, where the Assistant Director of that Department is the spouse of the Chief Clerk of the Court. We perceive no ethical prohibition in that regard based upon the facts presented.
You next pose a question that is both hypothetical in nature and beyond the scope of this Committee's mandate. Apparently your spouse is contemplating a political campaign for the office of county sheriff. You ask “Is it a conflict for the spouse of the judge to hold such office.” As you can appreciate, we do not advise on conflicts or ethical considerations except as they relate directly to the conduct of a judicial officer. A county sheriff is not a judicial officer.
The Committee also declines to address your speculative inquiry relating to a change in the Committee's opinion predicated upon a possible takeover of your county jail management by the State Department of Corrections.
Very truly yours,
Samuel J. Silverman