Maryland Courts

Ethics Opinions

The Committee's opinions are filed with the Secretary of the Maryland Judicial Conference (the Administrative Office of the Courts). A request and the opinion filed in response are confidential and, unless otherwise directed by the Court of Appeals or required by law, are not public information. However, a version redacted to remove the identity and specific court or geographical location of the requester and the identity of other persons mentioned in the opinion is published in the manner that the Secretary deems proper. Amendments to the Code of Conduct have been submitted to the Court of Appeals by the Judicial Ethics Committee and the Rules Committee. Once the Court has acted on that report, opinions issued under prior versions of the Code of Conduct, but still relevant, will be posted.

Opinion requested by a retired judge
Opinion Request Number Issue Date Description
2014-25 08-04-14 Judge May Coach a Basketball Team Under Certain Conditions
2014-06 05-06-14 Orphans’ Court Judge May Accept Employment with a State or Local Jurisdiction Under Certain Circumstances
2014-14 04-16-14 Judicial Appointee May Not Host Social Event for Political Candidate
2014-03 02-05-14 Part-Time Master May Not Accept Appointment as Part-Time State’s Attorney in the District Court
2013-13 12-16-13 Orphans’ Court Judge May Be Employed as a Video Producer Who Produces Commercials for Political Advertising
and
Orphans’ Court Judge Seeking Re-election May Use Commercial Media for Political Advertising
2013-26 12-06-13 A Judge May Provide an Introduction to a Book on a Law-Related Subject Published by a Non-Profit Organization
2013-12 11-05-13 Maryland Judge May Serve as Trustee of a New Jersey Non-Profit Addressing Access to Courts For Low Income/Culturally Disadvantaged Persons
2013-22 10-22-13 Obligations of a Judge Previously Appointed as Substitute Trustee For Purposes of Residential Foreclosure Proceedings
2013-16 09-19-13 Master May Serve on Commission on Child Custody Decision Making
2013-15 09-18-13 Judge May Serve on Commission on Child Custody Decision Making
2013-14 08-23-13 Judge May Not Appear on Talk Shows to Provide Legal Commentary
2013-17 08-14-13 Judicial Appointee May Make Loan to a Personal Friend
2013-11 08-12-13 Judge May Serve on Task Force on Juvenile Court Jurisdiction
2013-10 06-03-13 Judge, a Former Assistant/Deputy State’s Attorney, May Not Participate in Vote to Appoint a New State’s Attorney When Member of Judge’s Family Would Serve as an Assistant State’s Attorney Under Such Appointee
2012-15 03-04-13 Recusal of Judge Who Serves As a Hospice Volunteer From Cases Involving The Hospital With Which Such Program is Affiliated and Recusal of Judge Whose Spouse Serves on Hospice Board From Cases Involving Such Program or The Hospital With Which Affiliated
2012-07 06-12-12 Judge Must Consider Limitations on Use of Social Networking Sites
2012-06 04-18-12 Judge May Testify as a Fact Witness
2012-05 02-27-12 Recusal of Judge Whose Spouse is Acting as a Lawyer in a Proceeding Does Not Necessitate That Other Judges of the Same Court Also Recuse Themselves
2011-31 01-10-12 Judge May Not Appear in a Video Discussing Divorce
2011-24 12-14-11 Judge May Serve on Public Defender Regional Advisory Board
2011-19, 20, 21 08-16-11 Circumstances In Which Appellate Judge May Participate In Appellate Review Involving A Corporate Appellant In Which Such Judge Owns Or Has Owned Stock
2011-17 08-08-11 Judge May Allow Name to be Used on Letterhead of Invitation to Join Alumni Committee of a Non-Profit Legal Services Organization
2011-07 04-28-11 Judges May Preside Over Proceedings in Which a Party is Represented by an Elected Official with Some Control Over the Court’s Budget
2011-06 04-06-11 Orphans’ Court Judge May Serve on the Board of Non-Partisan County Business Organization
2011-04 04-04-11 Judge Not to Serve as President of Civic Organization that Solicits Funds from the Public If Judge Plays Prominent Role in Fundraising
2010-26 01-06-11 Recalled Judge May Serve on County Governmental Task Force
2010-22 01-15-11 A Judge May Hire a Law Clerk Who also Serves as an Elected but Unpaid Central Committee Member
2010-14 10-08-10 Judge may approach law firms and propose that the firms underwrite the compensation of an attorney to provide advocacy to victims of domestic violence.
2010-12 08-05-10 Judge Has an Ethical Responsibility in Regard to Staff Who Campaign for Candidates Running for Public Office

CAUTION: The following opinions were issued before the adoption of the current Code of Judicial Conduct and are based on the Code, statutes, case law or other law in effect at the time issued. Footnotes with arabic numbering appear in the original opinion. Footnotes with asterisks (*) are editorial notes current as of the date stated.

Opinion Request Number Issue Date Description
2010-11 07-09-10 Auditor May Not Serve on Board of Maryland Transportation Authority
2010-01 02-04-10 Judge May Be Compensated for Teaching Law Course to Maryland State Police Recruits
2009-18 12-21-09 Whether Judge May Be Involved in a Case after Recusal Depends on Circumstances
2009-14 11-23-09 District Court Commissioner May Accept Part-time and/or Seasonal Employment With an Executive Branch Agency
2009-16 11-16-09 Judge May Keep Prize Obtained in a Raffle
2009-15 11-16-09 Judge May Not Render an Opinion in a Case Pending Before a Foreign Court
2009-13 10-19-09 Recalled Judge May Continue To Sit In Maryland Courts If Appointed As Alternate Land Commissioner For The United States District Court For The District of Maryland
2009-02 07-28-09 Judge May Accept Appointment as Member of Maryland Children’s Justice Act Committee
2008-40 03-04-09 District Court Commissioner May Serve as Volunteer Firefighter
2008-43 01-30-09 At Sentencing or Bail Hearing, Judge May Not Ask Criminal Defendant, Who is Represented by Counsel and Requesting Probation/Bail, to Divulge Defendant’s Immigration Status
2008-25 12-30-08 Judge May Sit on the Board of Directors of The Good Shepherd Center
2007-11 10-14-08 Judge May Not Accept Appointment as Member of Local Management Board
2008-31/32 09-12-08 Judge May Endorse Proclamation Encouraging Cooperative Discovery
2008-13 07-31-08 Master Not to Input Court-related Information into Case Logs Maintained by State Child Support Administration
2008-12 07-22-08 Judge Serving on Juvenile Drug Court May Not Sit on Board of Directors of Non-Profit Organization That Counsels and Treats Juvenile Drug Offenders
2008-18 06-11-08 Judge May Lecture at Training Session Co-Hosted by a Law Firm and Bar Counsel, and Sponsored by a Liability Insurance Carrier
2008-14 05-14-08 Retired Judge May Identify Judicial Status When Soliciting for Work as an Arbitrator or Mediator
2008-11 05-14-08 Judge May Serve as the President of a Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA)
2007-04 04-30-08 What are the requirements of an administrative judge whose court issues a request for bids with regard to conflicts with potential bidders?
2008-06 04-07-08 Judge, as Trustee of a College, May Co-Host an Outreach Event for Alumni Who are Lawyers in Order to Stimulate Interest in the College and Inform Attendees Abo
2008-05 01-30-08 Judge May Not Serve on the Board of Charitable Organization Likely to Appear in Judge’s Court
2007-18 02-04-08 Retired Judge, Approved for Recall, May Serve as Personal Rrepresentative of an Estate
2007-10 09-25-07 Disclosure and/or Recusal of Judge Who Leases Property to a Lawyer Who Appears Before the Judge
2007-09 08-24-07

Judge’s Bailiff Should Not Serve on Liquor Control Board

2007-06 05-30-07 Retired Judge Eligible for Recall May Not Serve on County Planning Commission
2006-11 09-28-06 Judge’s Participation in Television Commercial for Medical Procedure
2006-05 10-23-06 Judge May Query Sua Sponte Whether Collection Claim Is Time Barred
2006-01 04-10-06 Judge May Not Raise Defense Sua Sponte
2005-21 03-17-06 Recusal Required When Counsel is Judge’s “Alter Ego”
2005-16 12-13-05 Sitting Judge Not to Allow Law Firm to Pay for Investiture Party
2005-11 09-23-05 Judge as Director of Non-Profit Organization for Soliciting Funds for Drug Courts
2004-24 12-03-04 Judge May Serve on Local Substance Abuse Council
2004-07 04-02-04 Duty and Ability of Judge to Report Criminal Conduct Revealed in Unrelated Litigation
2003-26 01-13-04 Retired Judge Not to Identify Judicial Status When Signing Opinions/Decisions in Extra-Judicial ADR Proceedings or on Letterhead Used for Extra-Judicial Activity
2003-10 08-27-03 Judge’s Receipt or Consideration of Home Study or Custody Investigation by Court’s Social Worker Not ex Parte Communication
2003-01 01-30-03 Fees Earned Before Appointment as a Master; Acceptance of Gift
2002-18 10-18-02 Inappropriate for Judge to Facilitate Defendant’s Offer of Donation to Satisfy Previously Imposed Traffic Fine
2002-07 08-30-02 (corrected) Judge-Candidate May Attend Fund-Raising Events for Candidates for Non-Judicial Office
2002-03 03-13-02 Maryland Judge May Participation on Merit Selection Panel for U. S. Magistrate Judges
2001-33 12-05-01 Judge’s Attendance at Fund-Raising Event for Judicial Candidate
2001-10 07-13-01 Judge-Candidate’s Participation in Joint Fund-Raiser with Non-Judicial Candidate
2001-01 04-30-01 Judge Not to Write Recurring Column on Legal Matters in National Magazine for Compensation
1999-11 05-11-00 Recognition as Judicial Fellow
1999-10 03-06-00 Guilty Plea/Verdict — Solicitation of Funds
1999-09 02-02-00 Limitations on Honoraria
1999-08 06-11-99 Stetting Charge ─ Solicitation of Funds
1997-12 02-09-98 Expense-Paid Trip Is Substantial Gift from Entity Whose Interest Could Be Submitted To Judge At Any Time
1997-04 03-31-97 Endorsement of Candidate for Bar Association Office
1996-20 10-22-96 Solicitation of Attorneys for Pro Bono Work
1995-06 08-31-95 Judge Should Not Serve on Arbitration Association Advisory Board
1994-06 08-11-94 Judge's Membership in All Male Private Social Club
1989-06 12-12-89 Judges Should Not Make Collective Recommendations on Candidates Being Considered By Judicial Nominating Commission
1989-02 04-26-89 Judge May Not Engage in Business That Would Likely Involve Prestige of Office
1988-04 11-15-88 Judge May Be Post Commander or District Advocate of the Veterans of Foreign Wars If Soliciting of Funds or Rendering of Legal Advice or Assistance Is Not Involved
1988-03 01-17-89 Judge May Not Accept Commission on Staff of Adjutant General's Office of State Militia
1988-02 08-25-88 Under Particular Circumstances, Judge May Lecture At Training Session of Attorneys in Law Firm
1988-01 08-16-88 Judge May Not Serve on Board of Community College Foundation Devoted Primarily to Fund-raising for College
1987-05 11-12-87 Judge May Not Serve As Member of Hospital or Nursing Home Committee Which Gives Advice Concerning Treatment or Nontreatment of Patients
1987-03 07-29-87 Judge May Chair Task Force for Justice Fellowship
1986-08 03-27-87 Retired Judge Subject to Recall May Participate in Ecclesiastical Proceedings Involving Annulments of Marriage
1986-03 05-14-86 Master Who Is Granted Leave of Absence Is Subject to Standard XXII, Prohibiting Partisan Political Activity
1985-06 02-10-86 Political Activity By Judge's Spouse
1985-04 02-14-86 Judge Who Is Candidate for Election May Have His or Her Name on a Ticket with Nonjudicial Candidates
1985-02 08-19-85 Appellate Judge Should Recuse Him or Herself from Cases Decided By Trial-Court-Judge-Sibling
1984-08 01-3-85 Judge May Continue to Own Real Property Where It Is Necessary to Institute Suit to Quiet Title
1984-05 11-5-84 Disqualification of Judge Who is Co-Owner of Property With Lawyer Who Appears Before Judge
1984-04 08-31-84 Judge May Not Be Used as Reference Source for Fund-raising Endeavors by Charity
1984-03 08-31-84 Judge May Not Refer DWI Defendant to Private Alcohol Program in Which the Judge or a Close Relative Has Financial Interest
1983-09 05-21-84 Judge Not Absolutely Prohibited from Attending Social Function as Guest of Attorney
1983-04 10-28-83 Judge May Not Apply to Central Committee for Appointment to Vacancy in Legislative Position Without First Resigning Judicial Position
1983-03 06-27-83 Judge Not to Lecture At Nearby Private Rehabilitation Facilities; Not to Speak At Fundraisers; May Otherwise Engage in Educational Activities and Tape Lectures for Sale
1982-12 07-06-82 Judge Not to Make Voluntary Recommendations of Former Constituents Unless Judge Has Special Knowledge of Their Qualifications
1982-05 07-12-82 Judge May Request Zoning Change or Protest Activities of Others Relating to Judge's Property
1982-02 04-21-82 Judge Not to Serve on Ethics Commission of Governmental Entity
1982-01 03-18-82 Orphans' Court Judge Not to Write Probate Bonds in Insurance Business
1981-14 01-25-82 No Impropriety in Judge Leasing Building to State Agency and Sitting In Cases Involving Agency
1981-09 10-30-81 Judge Not to Hear Cases Involving Successor Law Firm From Which Judge Receives Referral Payments
1981-08 12-03-81 Judge Not to Hear Cases Involving Associate of Successor Law Firm Making Referral Payments Who Has Contract With Public Defender
1981-07 10-14-81 Judge Not to Sit in Case Involving Regulations Promulgated By Subdivision Association of Which Judge Is Member
1981-01 03-02-81 Judge May Accept Invitations to Bar Association Functions With or Without Paying; May Not Hear Case Involving Brother's Wife But Not Absolutely Disqualified in Case Involving Father of Brother's Wife
1980-10 11-25-80 Judge May Serve as Vestryman of Church; May Hear Cases in Which Former Law Professor Is Counsel
1980-09 11-28-80 Judge May Serve on Advisory Committee Regarding County's Establishment of Equestrian Center
1980-08 08-29-80 Appellate Judge Running for Retention in Office May Engage in Same Political Activity as Similarly Situated Circuit Court Judge
1980-07 07-11-80 Judge May Write Introduction to Book on Alcoholism Recommending It to Judges and Other Professionals
1980-04 10-29-80 Judge May Continue as Co-Trustee of Uncle's Will Despite County's Jurisdiction Over Trust
1980-03 04-23-80 Judge May Establish Blind Trust for Funds Raised By Others to Pay Judge's Defense Attorney's Fees
1980-01 01-04-80 Judge May Recommend Candidates for Judicial Appointments Whether Requested To Do So Or Not
1979-14 11-20-80 Judge May Invest in Municipal Bond Fund But Not Sit in Case Involving Certain Issues in Which Judge Has More Than $1,000 Interest
1979-12 10-29-80 Judge May Act as Co-Trustee But Not Hear Cases Involving Trust or Corporations in Which Trust Holds Stock of Value Exceeding $1,000
1979-11 01-23-80 Master May Solicit Support for Judicial Appointment From Lawyers Appearing Before Master
1979-09 09-14-79 Judge May Not Serve As Director of County's Office of Civil Defense and Disaster Preparedness
1979-08 06-22-79 Judge May Serve as Trustee of University Foundation
1979-07 09-13-79 Judge May Serve on County Alcoholism Advisory Council; Not to Lecture on Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Clinics
1979-06 01-04-80 Judge May Be Guest of Honor at Nonfundraiser Although Surplus of Ticket Sales Goes to Undesignated Charity
1979-05 5-25-79 Judge May Serve as Treasurer of Bar Association
1979-03 01-04-80 Judge May Own Building Leased to Lawyer And Hear Cases Involving Tenant; May Negotiate Lease and Collect Rents
1979-02 3-12-79 Induction Ceremonies May Be Photographed and Televised By News Media
1979-01 01-31-79 Judge Not to Attend Fundraisers for Spouse Reelection
1978-07 01-16-7[9] Judge's Campaign Committee Not to Contribute to Campaign Committee of Judges in Another Jurisdiction
1978-05 03-23-79 Judge May Serve as Personal Representative in Non-Maryland Estate
1978-04 06-30-78 Judge May Co-Own Land With Former Partners But Not Actively Manage or Dispose of It; Not to Hear Cases in Which Partners Personally Appear
1978-03 05-08-78 Judge May Serve on College's Board of Governors But Cannot Be Involved in Fund-raising
1978-02 05-08-78 Judge Running for Election May Participate in Fundraisers to Promote Candidacy of Others
1977-12 12-20-77 Judge Not to Serve as Legal Evaluator of Research Projects for Hospital
1977-10 12-07-77 Judge Not to Serve as Personal Representative of Estate Of Or Guardian For Nonrelatives
1977-09 11-30-77 Judge May Serve as Trustee of Religious Foundation But May Not Give Advice
1977-08 10-21-77 Orphans' Court Judge May Not Act as Auctioneer in Estate Sales
1977-06 10-17-77 Judge May Purchase Building in Another Circuit But Not Actively Manage Property or Negotiate Purchase or Sale
1977-05 06-27-77 Judge May Recommend Lawyer for Martindale-Hubbell; May Recommend Applicant to Educational Institution Using Judicial Stationery
1977-03 06-16-77 Recusal Not Required in Case Involving Law Firm in Which Judge's Son Is Salaried Associate
1977-02 03-07-77 Judge May Teach Law and Supervise Other Teachers in Proprietary School
1977-01 02-23-77 Judge May Hear Case Involving Child as Witness on Undisputed or Formal Matters
1976-13 01-17-77 Judge May Hold Stock in Businesses, If Not Frequent Litigators, But Not Hear Matters Affecting Holdings
1976-11 10-04-76 Judge May Own Building Leased to Lawyer; Not Disqualified From Hearing Cases in Which Tenant Is Counsel
1976-09 09-20-76 Judge Not to Act as Uncompensated Arbitrator in Pending Court Case
1976-08 07-08-76 Judge May Solicit and Receive Compensation for Writings on Foreign Judicial System
1976-07 07-08-76 Lawyers and Laymen May Solicit Funds for Restoring Art Objects in Courthouse If Judges Not Involved in Fund-raising
1976-05 03-17-76 Judge May Speak on Duties of Judges Before Political Organization But Leave After Speech
1976-04 02-25-76 Contributions to Judge's Election Campaign May Be Made to Either Campaign Committee Treasurer or Judge's Campaign Treasurer
1976-03 02-20-76 Canons and Rules of Judicial Ethics Not Applicable to Judge's Spouse
1976-01 02-06-76 Judge May Manage Affairs of Spouse's Cousin Under Power of Attorney But Not Hold Legal Title to Assets
1975-11 10-21-75 Judge May Participate in Videotaping of Juvenile Proceedings for Educational Purposes Away from Actual Courtroom
1975-10 10-21-75 Judge Not to Serve as Church Treasurer
1975-09 10-3-75 Judge Not to Serve on Legal Advisory Board of Charitable Organization
1975-08 07-07-75 Judge Running for Election May Attend Fundraisers and Contribute to Political Party Which Supports Judge's Candidacy
1975-07 05-28-75 Judge May Appear in Unsponsored Film for Charitable Organization If Film Not Used for Fund-raising
1975-06 05-22-75 Judge May Own Real Estate But Not Actively Manage Property or Negotiate Sale
1975-04 04-17-75 Judge May Be Unpaid Coexecutor of Will of Spouse's Uncle in Another State
Canons and Rules Do Not Bar Serving as Coexecutor in Another State; Committee Declined to Interpret Statute
1975-03 04-03-75 Judge Not to Participate in Services Auction Run by Religious Organization
1975-01 02-19-75 Judge Not to Be Guest of Honor at Fundraiser
1974-09 12-27-74 Judge May Appear as Judge in Mock Trial on Television; Actual Courtroom and Jury Panel Not to Be Used
1974-08 12-26-74 Judge Not to Hear Cases Involving Attorney-Nephews of Spouse or Which Could Substantially Affect Nephew's Interest in Law Firm
1974-06 10-23-74 Judge May Contract with Successor in Law Practice for Payments of Indefinite Amounts in Contingent-Fee or Like Matters
1974-05 07-22-74 Judge Running Unopposed May Participate, But Not Solicit or Contribute Funds, in Election Campaigns of Opposed Judges
1974-03 04-25-74 Judges in United Campaign for Reelection May Work for Election of Each Other
1974-02 04-29-74 Judge May Attend Testimonial Dinner Given in Judge's Honor If Not Related to Fund-raising
1974-01 04-03-74 Photograph of Judge in Judicial Robes May Be Used in Judge's Election Campaign
1973-07 07-16-73 Judge May Participate in Filming by U.S. Government Agency of Simulated Grand Jury Proceedings
1973-06 05-23-73 Newly Appointed Judge May Participate in Political Gatherings Relating to Judge's Election
1973-05 05-16-73 Judge May Participate in Taping of Mock Trial for Unsponsored Television Show Unless Tape Used for Fund-raising
1973-03 04-23-73 Judge May Serve as Unpaid Director of Charitable Corporation Operating Senior Citizen Apartments But Prohibited in Solicitation of Funds
1973-01 01-30-73 Judge Not to Serve as Director of Corporation Operating Radio Station
1972-02 07-14-72 Judge Not to Render Accounting Services to Clients
1972-01 04-07-72 Judge Not Running for Election Not to Participate in or Contribute to Other Judicial Election Campaigns
1971-06 02-01-72 Judge May Serve as Paid Corporate Director of Newspaper Publisher with Restrictions
1971-05 03-01-72 Judge May Serve on Board, But Not Participate in Funding Activities, of Charitable and Educational Organizations Not Related to Work of Court
1971-04 12-14-71 Judge May Serve as Personal Representative of Father's Estate; May Not Serve as Director of Insurance Brokerage Firm