July 15, 1988
Please Note: Opinion 12-154 has abolished the requirement that a judge must disclose and/or recuse whenever a relative of his/her co-judge appears. Please review Opinion 12-154 for more information.
Dear Mr. :
This is in response to your letter of May 5, 1988, requesting an opinion about the propriety of the attorney-spouses of [ ] Court Judges practicing before other judges in that court.
The Rules of the Chief Administrator and the Code of Judicial Conduct do not require that a judge disqualify himself if the spouse of another judge in that court appears before him, unless the judge doubts his impartiality. If the judge believes that he will be impartial, he need not recuse himself. However, if the parties are not aware of the attorney-spouse’s relationship, a trial judge should disclose the relationship, and should disqualify himself if any party objects to the judge’s presiding over the case.
This opinion is advisory only and does not bind either the office of Court Administration or the Commission on Judicial Conduct.
Very truly yours,
Samuel J. Silverman