CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT

CANON 1

A Judge Shall Uphold the Integrity and Independence of the Judiciary

An independent and honorable judiciary is indispensable to justice in our society. A judge should participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing, and shall personally observe, high standards of conduct so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved. The provisions of this Code are to be construed and applied to further that objective. As a necessary corollary, the judge must be protected in the exercise of judicial independence.


COMMENTARY TO CANON 1

 The word “shall” is intended to impose binding obligations, the violation of which can result in disciplinary action.

 

When “should” is used, the text is intended to instruct judges concerning appropriate judicial conduct. The use of should is an acknowledgement that the conduct regulated in these Canons may impose in the judge more discretion, and/or may involve the conduct of others. Nonetheless, a clear violation of any Canon in which should is used, a clear abuse of discretion by the judge in conforming his or her conduct to any such Canons, or a clear abuse of discretion by the judge in regulating the conduct of those persons whose actions are subject to the judge's direction and control, may also result in judicial discipline.

 

CANON 2

A Judge Shall Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety in All Activities

A. A judge shall respect and comply with the law and shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

As used in this Code, "impartiality" or "impartial" denotes absence of bias or prejudice in favor of, or against, particular parties or classes of parties, as well as maintaining an open mind in considering issues that may come before the judge. [Amended effective February 1, 2005]

B. A judge shall not allow family, social, political, or other relationships to influence judicial conduct or judgment. A judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interest of the judge or others; nor shall a judge convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge. A judge shall not testify voluntarily as a character witness. Although a judge should be sensitive to possible abuse of the prestige of office, a judge may, based on the judge's personal knowledge, serve as a reference or provide a letter of recommendation. Letters of recommendation may be written only on private stationery which does not contain any official designation of the judge's court, but the judge may use his or her title. A judge shall not initiate the communication of information in any court or disciplinary proceeding, but may provide such information for the record in response to a formal request by a court or disciplinary agency official.

C. A judge shall not hold membership in any organization that arbitrarily excludes from membership, on the basis of race, religion, sex or national origin, any persons who would otherwise be admitted to membership. The term "organization" shall not include, however, an association of individuals dedicated to the preservation of religious, ethnic, historical or cultural values of legitimate common interest to its members; or an intimate, distinctly private association of persons whose membership limitations would be entitled to constitutional protection.



CANON 3

A Judge Shall Perform the Duties of Office Impartially and Diligently

The judicial duties of a judge take precedence over all other activities. Judicial duties include all the duties of office prescribed by law. In the performance of these duties, the following standards apply:

A. Adjudicative Responsibilities.

(1) A judge shall be faithful to the law and maintain professional competence in it. A judge shall be unswayed by partisan interests, public clamor, or fear of criticism.

(2) A judge shall maintain order and decorum in judicial proceedings.

(3) A judge shall be patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity, and should require similar conduct of lawyers, and of staff, court officials, and others subject to the judge's direction and control.

(4) A judge shall perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice. A judge shall not, in the performance of judicial duties, by words or conduct manifest bias or prejudice, and shall not permit staff, court officials or others subject to the judge's direction and control to do so. A judge may make reasonable efforts, consistent with the law and court rules, to facilitate the abilities of all litigants, including self-represented litigants, to be fairly heard, provided, however, that in so doing, a judge should not give self-represented litigants an unfair advantage or create an appearance of partiality to the reasonable person.


COMMENTARY TO CANON 3A(4) (2013)

Steps judges may consider in facilitating the right of self-represented litigants to be heard, and which (they might find) are consistent with these principles include, but are not limited to:


(1) making referrals to any resources available to assist the litigant in preparation of the case;


(2) providing brief information about the proceeding and evidentiary and foundational requirements;


(3) asking neutral questions to elicit or clarify information;


(4) attempting to make legal concepts understandable by minimizing use of legal jargon; and


(5) explaining the basis for a ruling.

[amended effective March 18, 2013]

(5) A judge shall require lawyers in proceedings before the judge to refrain from manifesting, by words or conduct, bias or prejudice against parties, witnesses, counsel or others.

(6) Except as permitted by law, a judge shall not permit private or ex parte interviews, arguments or communications designed to influence his or her judicial action in any case, either civil or criminal. A judge may obtain the advice of a disinterested expert on the law applicable to a proceeding before the judge if the judge gives notice to the parties of the person consulted and the substance of the advice, and affords the parties reasonable opportunity to respond. Where circumstances require, ex parte communications are authorized for scheduling, administrative purposes or emergencies that do not deal with substantive matters or issues on the merits, provided the judge reasonably believes that no party will gain a procedural or tactical advantage as a result of the ex parte communication. A judge shall not knowingly accept in any case briefs, documents or written communications intended or calculated to influence his or her action unless the contents are promptly made known to all parties. Judges of appellate courts shall also avoid all actions or language which might indicate to counsel, litigants or any member of the public, the particular member of the court to whom a case is allotted or assigned for any purpose. Similar circumspection should be exacted on the part of court officers, clerks and secretaries.

(7) A judge shall dispose of all judicial matters promptly, efficiently and fairly.

(8) A judge shall not, while a proceeding is pending in any Louisiana state court, make any public comment that might reasonably be expected to affect its outcome or impair its fairness, and shall require similar abstention on the part of court personnel subject to his or her direction and control. This subsection does not prohibit judges from making public statements in the course of their official duties or from explaining for public information the procedures of the court. [Amended effective February 1, 2005]

(9) Except as herein provided a judge should prohibit broadcasting, televising, recording, or taking photographs in the courtroom and areas immediately adjacent thereto at least during sessions of court or recesses between sessions.

A trial judge may authorize:

(a) the use of electronic or photographic means for the presentation of evidence, for the perpetuation of a record for the court or for counsel, or for other purposes of judicial administration;

(b) the broadcasting, televising, recording or photographing of investitive or ceremonial proceedings;

(c) the photographic or electronic recording and reproduction of appropriate court proceedings under the following conditions:

(i) the means of recording will not distract participants or impair the dignity of the proceedings;

(ii) the parties have consented, and the consent to being depicted or recorded has been obtained from each witness appearing in the recording and reproduction;

(iii) the reproduction will not be exhibited until after the proceeding has been concluded and all direct appeals have been exhausted; and

(iv) the reproduction will be exhibited only for instructional purposes in educational institutions.

An appellate court may permit broadcasting, televising, recording, and taking photographs of public judicial proceedings in the courtrooms of appellate courts in accordance with the guidelines set forth in an appendix to this Canon, subject, however, to the authority of each court and the presiding judge of each court or panel to (a) control the conduct of proceedings before the court, (b) ensure decorum and prevent distractions, and (c) ensure the fair administration of justice in the pending cause.

(10) A judge shall not, with respect to cases, controversies or issues that are likely to come before the court, make pledges, promises or commitments that are inconsistent with the impartial performance of the adjudicative duties of the office. [Enacted effective February 1, 2005]

B. Administrative Responsibilities.

(1) A judge shall diligently discharge the judge's administrative responsibilities without bias or prejudice and maintain professional competence in judicial administration, and should cooperate with other judges and court officials in the administration of court business.

(2) A judge shall require staff, court officials and others subject to the judge's direction and control to observe the standards of fidelity and diligence that apply to the judge and to refrain from manifesting bias or prejudice in the performance of their official duties.

(3) A judge should take or initiate appropriate disciplinary measures against a judge or lawyer for unprofessional conduct of which the judge may become aware. Acts of a judge in the discharge of disciplinary responsibilities, as set forth above, are part of the judge's judicial duties and shall be absolutely privileged, and no civil action predicated thereon may be instituted against the judge.

(4) A judge shall not make unnecessary appointments. A judge should exercise the power of appointment impartially and on the basis of merit. A judge should avoid appointments which tend to create the appearance of impropriety. A judge shall not approve the compensation of appointees beyond the fair value of services rendered. A judge shall avoid nepotism. No spouse or member of the immediate family of a judge shall be employed in the court to which that judge was elected. "Immediate family" means a judge's children, parents, brothers and sisters; the children and parents of a judge's spouse; the spouses of a judge's children; and all step relationships to the same degree.

The provisions of this Subsection shall not prohibit the continued employment of any employee of a court employed by such court on or before December 31, 1990; nor shall such provisions be construed to hinder, alter, or in any way affect promotional advancements for any such employee. The provisions of this Subsection pertaining to nepotism shall not apply to mayors or justices of the peace.

C. Recusation. A judge should disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned and shall disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which disqualification is required by law or applicable Supreme Court rule. In all other instances, a judge should not recuse himself or herself.

APPENDIX TO CANON 3

Guidelines for Extended Media Coverage of Proceedings in Appellate Courtrooms

I. As used in these guidelines,

A. 'Extended coverage' means any recording or broadcasting by the news media of court proceedings using television, radio, photographic or recording equipment.

B. 'Presiding Judge' means the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Louisiana, the Chief Judge of a Court of Appeal, or the senior judge of a panel of which the Chief Justice or Chief Judge is not a member.

C. 'Proceeding' means any hearing, motion, argument on appeal or other matter held in open court which the public is entitled to attend.

D. 'Party' means a named litigant of record who has appeared in the case, and includes a party's counsel of record.

E. 'Media' means legitimate news gathering and reporting agencies and their representatives.

F. 'Court' means an appellate court and includes the Supreme Court of Louisiana and the Courts of Appeal of the several circuits.

II. All extended media coverage of court proceedings shall be governed by the principle that the decorum and dignity of the court, the courtroom and the judicial process will be maintained at all times. Resolution of any question of coverage or procedure not specifically addressed in this section will be guided by this overriding principle.

III. A. The consent or approval of parties to extended coverage is not required. Parties may object to extended coverage by filing a written objection stating the reasons therefor with the clerk of court at least 10 days prior to the date of the proceedings. Upon objection by a party, or on the court's own motion, the presiding judge may prohibit or limit extended coverage of a proceeding.

B. Extended coverage shall not be permitted in any proceeding which by law must or may be held in private.

C. The decision of the presiding judge on any question of coverage shall be final and shall not be subject to review by any other court.

IV. Extended coverage of a proceeding shall not be permitted unless notice of intention to provide extended coverage of a proceeding is given by the media to the clerk of court at least 20 days in advance of the proceeding, provided that only reasonable notice shall be required for coverage of expedited proceedings not regularly calendared.

V. Extended coverage of court proceedings may be provided by news media agencies and their representatives. Film, videotape, photographs, and audio reproduction shall not be used for commercial or political advertising purposes. Such use of these materials will be regarded as an unlawful interference with the judicial process.

VI. Extended coverage of investitive or ceremonial proceedings at variance with these guidelines may be authorized by the court.

VII. When extended coverage is permitted, all media representatives shall have equally the right to provide coverage. When extended coverage is to be provided by more than one media representative, the media collectively should designate one representative to coordinate with the court all matters dealing with extended coverage. Any pooling arrangements among the media required by the limitations and restrictions on equipment and personnel contained in these guidelines shall be the sole responsibility of the media and must be made in advance of the court proceedings to be covered. Judges and court personnel will not mediate any dispute as to the appropriate media representative or equipment authorized to cover a particular proceeding. If pooling arrangements cannot be made or if there are unresolved media disputes, the presiding judge may deny extended coverage of proceedings.

VIII. A. No more than two portable television cameras, each operated by no more than one camera person and positioned as unobtrusively as possible at locations approved by the court, shall be permitted to be physically in the courtroom. Only television equipment which does not produce light or distracting sound will be permitted. Videotape recording equipment which is not a component part of a television camera shall, whenever possible, be located in an area outside the courtroom.

B. No artificial lighting device of any kind shall be employed in connection with the television camera. With the approval of the court, modifications and additions to existing courtroom lighting may be made provided such modifications or additions are installed and maintained without public expense. Multiple video/audio feeds may be permitted but must be provided by a video/audio distribution system, furnished by the media, located outside the courtroom.

IX. A. No more than one still photographer, using not more than two still cameras with not more than two lenses for each camera without flash or other artificial light, shall be permitted to be physically in the courtroom. Still cameras must not produce distracting sound and should produce no greater sound than the Leica M Series Rangefinder camera. Motorized film advance systems will not be permitted.

B. The photographer shall be positioned in a place designated by the presiding judge and remain in that area except when the proceeding is in recess. Changing of lenses or film will only be done during a recess.

X. Only one audio system for radio broadcast purposes will be permitted in the courtroom. Audio pickup should be made from existing audio systems in the courtroom whenever possible. If no technically suitable audio system exists in the courtroom, microphones and related wiring shall be permitted but must be unobtrusive and located in places designated in advance by the presiding judge. Multiple radio feeds rather than a pooling system may be permitted but must be provided by an audio distribution system, provided by the media, located outside the courtroom.

XI. When extended media coverage is authorized, individual journalists may bring tape recorders into the courtroom and use them to record proceedings so long as they do not cause any distraction. Journalists using tape recorders may sit at any place in the audience portion of the courtroom, but must keep their tape recorder on their person at all times. Changing of tape cassettes during proceedings is not permitted and should only be done during a recess.

XII. All camera and audio equipment must be in position at least 15 minutes before the start of the proceedings and can only be moved or removed after the proceedings are over or during a recess. Television camera persons and still photographers must remain in their designated area and are not permitted to move about the courtroom. Television cameras and radio broadcast equipment, once in position, may not be moved during the proceedings. Movement by television and still photographers should be held to a minimum and in no way should be distracting or call undue attention to the operators.

XIII. Camera and audio equipment authorized by these guidelines shall not be operated during a recess in a court proceeding. Extended coverage in the judicial area of a courthouse or other court facility is limited to proceedings in the courtroom in the presence of the presiding judge.

XIV. The dignity and decorum of the court must be maintained at all times during extended media coverage activities. Court customs, including appropriate dress, must be followed.

XV. The confidentiality of the attorney/client relationship must be protected. Therefore, there will be no audio recording, radio, television, or tape-recording, made or broadcast of any conference between attorneys and their clients, between co-counsel of a client, between counsel and the presiding judge when held at the bench, or of proceedings held in chambers. No parabolic microphones shall be used.

[Added April 23, 1985. Amended and effective June 3, 1993.]

 

CANON 4

Quasi-Judicial Activities

A Judge May Engage in Quasi-Judicial Activities to Improve the Law, the Legal System, and the Administration of Justice

A judge, subject to the proper performance of judicial duties, may engage in the following quasi-judicial activities, if in doing so the judge does not impair, limit or restrict his or her capacity to decide impartially any issue that the judge knows is likely to come before the judge:

A. A judge may speak, write, lecture, teach, and participate in other activities concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice.

B. A judge may appear at a public hearing before an executive or legislative body or official on matters concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice, and may otherwise consult with an executive or legislative body or official, but only on matters concerning the administration of justice.

C. A judge may serve as a member, officer, or director of an organization or governmental agency devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice. A judge shall not personally solicit funds for such an organization or agency, or allow his or her name to be used in the solicitation of funds. A judge may make recommendations to the public and private fund-granting agencies on projects and programs concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice.



CANON 5

Extra-Judicial Activities

A Judge Shall Regulate Extra-Judicial Activities to Minimize the Risk of Conflict With Judicial Duties

A. Avocational Activities. A judge may write, lecture, teach, and speak on non-legal subjects, and engage in the arts, sports, and other social and recreational activities, if such avocational activities do not detract from the dignity of judicial office or interfere with the performance of judicial duties.

B. Civic and Charitable Activities.  A judge may participate in civic and charitable activities that do not reflect adversely upon his or her impartiality or interfere with the performance of judicial duties.  A judge may serve as an officer, director, trustee, or non-legal advisor of an educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organization not conducted for the economic or political advantage of its members, subject to the following limitations:

(1) A judge shall not serve if the judge knows, or should know, it is likely that the organization will be engaged in proceedings that would ordinarily come before the judge or will be regularly engaged in adversary proceedings in any court.

(2) A judge shall not solicit funds for any educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organization, or use or permit the use of the prestige of judicial office for that purpose, but the judge may be listed as an officer, director, or trustee of such an organization. However, it shall not be a violation of this Canon for a judge to privately solicit funds for the judge's local church from a local church member. A judge should not be a fund-raising speaker or the guest of honor at an organization's fund-raising events, but may attend such events. A judge may also participate in an organization's fund-raising events, provided the judge's title or status is not used to support the fund-raising effort. [Amended effective February 12, 2003]

C. Financial Activities.

(1) A judge shall refrain from financial and business dealings that tend to reflect adversely on the judge's impartiality, interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties, exploit the judge's judicial position, or involve the judge in frequent transactions with lawyers or persons likely to come before the court on which he or she serves.


(2) Subject to the requirement of subsection (1), a judge may hold and manage investments, including real estate, and engage in other remunerative activity but shall not serve as an officer, director, manager, or employee of any bank, lending institution, homestead or savings and loan association, insurance company, public utility, and other businesses affected with a public interest.

(3) A judge should manage investments and other financial interests to minimize the number of cases in which he or she is disqualified. As soon as a judge can do so without serious financial detriment, he or she shall divest himself or herself of investments and other financial interests that might require frequent recusation.

(4) Information acquired by a judge in his or her judicial capacity shall not be used or disclosed by the judge in financial dealings or for any other purpose not related to judicial duties.

D. Service as Arbitrator or Mediator. A judge shall not act as an arbitrator or mediator or otherwise perform judicial functions in a private capacity.

E. Extra-Judicial Appointments. A judge shall not accept appointment to a governmental committee, commission, or other position that is concerned with issues of fact or policy on matters other than the improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice. A judge, however, may represent his or her county, state, or locality on ceremonial occasions or in connection with historical, educational, and cultural activities.

 

CANON 6 [Effective January 1, 2013]
A Judge May Accept Reasonable Compensation and Expenses for Quasi-Judicial and Extra-Judicial Activities; A Judge May Not Accept Gifts, Loans, Bequests, Benefits, Favors or Other Things of Value Except Under Restricted Circumstances; A Judge Must Report Compensation, Gifts, Loans, Bequests, Benefits, Favors and Other Things in Some Circumstances


A. COMPENSATION AND EXPENSES FOR QUASI-JUDICIAL AND EXTRA-JUDICIAL ACTIVITIES
A judge may accept compensation and expenses for the quasi-judicial and extra-judicial activities permitted by this Code, subject to the following restrictions:


(1) The acceptance of compensation and expenses would not cause a disinterested reasonable person to regard the payment as an attempt to influence the judge in his or her judicial duties and would not otherwise give rise to an appearance of impropriety. Compensation for quasi-judicial activities shall not exceed what a person who is not a judge would receive for the same activity.

(2) Expenses shall be limited to the actual cost of travel, food, and lodging reasonably incurred by the judge and, where appropriate to the occasion, by his or her spouse. Any payment in excess of such an amount is compensation.

B. GIFTS, LOANS, BEQUESTS, BENEFITS, FAVORS OR OTHER THINGS OF VALUE
(1) A judge shall not accept, directly or indirectly, any gifts, loans, bequests, benefits, favors or other things of value that might reasonably appear as designed to affect the judgment of the judge or influence the judge’s official conduct, or would appear to a disinterested reasonable person to undermine the judge’s independence, integrity, or impartiality.


(2) If not in violation of Canon 6B(1), a judge may accept the following, and need not report such acceptance:

(a) items with little intrinsic value, such as plaques, certificates, trophies, and greeting cards;


(b) gifts, loans, bequests, benefits, favors or other things of value from friends, relatives, or other persons, including lawyers, whose appearance or interest in a proceeding pending or impending before the judge would in any event require disqualification of the judge;


(c) gifts, bequests, benefits, favors or other things of value given in connection with a special occasion such as a wedding, anniversary or birthday that are commensurate with the occasion and the relationship;


(d) ordinary social hospitality;


(e) commercial or financial opportunities and benefits, including special pricing and discounts, and loans from lending institutions in their regular course of business, if the same opportunities and benefits or loans are made available on the same terms to similarly situated persons who are not judges;


(f) rewards and prizes given to competitors or participants in random drawings, contests, or other events that are open to persons who are not judges;


(g) scholarships, fellowships, and similar benefits or awards, if they are available to similarly situated persons who are not judges, based upon the same terms and criteria;


(h) books, magazines, journals, audiovisual materials, and other resource materials supplied by publishers on a complimentary basis for official use;


(i) gifts, awards or benefits associated with the business, profession, or other separate activity of a spouse, domestic partner, or immediate family member residing in the judge’s household, but that do not benefit the judge or only incidentally benefit the judge; or


(j) complimentary admission to a political event if in compliance with this Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 7.


(3) If not in violation of Canon 6B(1), a judge may accept the following, but must report such acceptance, if the financial threshold set forth in Canon 6C(2)(a) is met:


(a) gifts incidental to a public testimonial;


(b) invitations to the judge or to the judge and the judge’s spouse, domestic partner or guest to attend without charge:


(i) an event associated with a bar-related function or other activity relating to the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice; or


(ii) an event associated with any of the judge’s educational, religious, charitable, fraternal or civic activities permitted by this Code of Judicial Conduct, if the same invitation is offered to non-judges who are engaged in similar ways in the activity as is the judge;


(c) complimentary admission to a civic, non-profit or educational event when the judge is a program honoree, is giving a speech at the event, or is a panel member for a discussion occurring at the event.


(d) gifts, loans, bequests, benefits, or other things of value, including ordinary social hospitality, if the source is a party or other person, including a lawyer, who has come before the judge within a reasonable period of time, or is likely to come before the judge, or whose interests have come before the judge within a reasonable period of time, or are likely to come before the judge.


(4) A contribution to a judge’s campaign committee organized pursuant to Canon 7D is not a gift for purposes of Canon 6.

 

C. ANNUAL REPORTING REQUIREMENTS:
(1) Compensation and Expenses.

(a) A judge shall report annually all compensation and expenses received in connection with any quasi-judicial activity of the judge when the amount received for any such quasi-judicial activity exceeds $500 and is paid for by any individual, any professional organization or association, including law-related groups, or any business organization or association.


(b) The judge's report shall be filed in the Office of the Judicial Administrator of the Supreme Court of Louisiana on or before May 15th of each year, for the preceding calendar year, and the report shall be subject to public inspection. In the report the judge shall list the name of the payor/donor, the date, the place and the nature of the quasi-judicial activity.


(2) Gifts, Loans, Bequests, Benefits, Favors or Other Things of Value.

(a) When public reporting is required by Canon 6B(3), a judge shall publicly report annually all gifts, loans, bequests, benefits, favors or other things of value accepted by the judge when the value of such items, alone or in the aggregate with other items received from the same source in the same calendar year, exceeds $350.


(b) The judge's report shall be filed in the Office of the Judicial Administrator of the Supreme Court of Louisiana on or before May 15th of each year, for the preceding calendar year, and the report shall be subject to public inspection. In the report the judge shall list the name of the payor/donor, the date, the place and the description of any gift, loan, bequest, benefit, favor or other thing of value accepted.

(3) Value from Certain Types of Contracts.

(a) A judge shall file initial and annual disclosure statements with the Office of the Judicial Administrator of the Supreme Court of Louisiana if the judge derives directly, or through a legal entity of which he/she owns ten percent or more, anything of economic value, when that value exceeds $2,500, from a contract or subcontract that is related to a disaster or emergency declared by the governor, and when the judge knows or reasonably should know the contract or subcontract is or may be funded or reimbursed in whole or in part with federal funds.


(b) Initial disclosure statements shall be due within 15 days after the judge or legal entity enters into such a contract or subcontract. Thereafter, annual disclosure statements are due on or before May 15th. Economic value received from contracts or subcontracts entered into prior to a judge’s taking office shall first be reported on the first annual disclosure statement due following the judge’s election. Disclosure statements shall be subject to public inspection.


(c) Disclosure statements shall contain the following information:


(i) The name, business address and office held by the judge;


(ii) If through a legal entity, the name and business address of the legal entity; the percentage of the judge’s ownership interest in the legal entity; and the position, if any, held by the judge in the legal entity;


(iii) The nature of the contract or subcontract, including: the amount of the contract or subcontract, a description of the goods or services provided or to be provided pursuant to the contract or subcontract and the names and addresses of the other parties to the contract or subcontract;


(iv) The amount of income or the value of anything of economic value to be derived or, if the actual amount is unknown at the time the statement is due, the amount reasonably expected to be derived by the judge from the contract or subcontract.


Any judge who is subject to the provisions of this subpart shall be required to file annual disclosure statements until a disclosure statement is filed after the completion of the contract or subcontract subject to disclosure, or until the judge vacates his/her judicial office, whichever occurs first.


(4) Transition Rule.
The reports required pursuant to Canon 6C that are due on or before May 15, 2013 for calendar year 2012 shall contain the information required by the provisions of Canon 6 of the Code of Judicial Conduct that were effective in calendar year 2012.

[Amended effective January 1, 2013]

 

CANON 7

A Judge Or Judicial Candidate Shall Refrain From Inappropriate Political and Campaign Activity

A. A Judge or Judicial Candidate Shall Not, Except to the Extent Permitted By These Canons:


(1) act as a leader or hold any office in a political organization;


(2) publicly endorse or publicly oppose another candidate for public office;


(3) make speeches on behalf of a political organization or a candidate for public office;


(4) solicit funds for, pay an assessment to, or make a contribution to a political organization or candidate for public office;


(5) purchase tickets for campaign functions;


(6) personally solicit or personally accept campaign contributions;


(7) use or permit the use of campaign contributions for the sole or exclusive benefit of the judge, the candidate, or others;


(8) use court staff, facilities, or other court resources in a campaign for judicial office, except to the extent that such use is de minimis in nature;


(9) knowingly make, or cause to be made, a false statement concerning the identity, qualifications, present position, or other fact concerning the candidate or an opponent;


(10) make any statement that would reasonably be expected to affect the outcome or impair the fairness of a matter pending in any Louisiana state court; or


(11) in connection with cases, controversies, or issues that are likely to come before the court, make pledges, promises, or commitments that are inconsistent with the impartial performance of the adjudicative duties of judicial office.


B. A Judge or Judicial Candidate Shall:


(1) maintain the dignity appropriate to judicial office and act in a manner consistent with the impartiality, integrity and independence of the judiciary;


(2) review and approve the content of all political advertisements produced by the judge or judicial candidate or his or her campaign committee, as authorized by Canon 7D, before their dissemination;


(3) take reasonable measures to ensure that other persons do not undertake, on behalf of the judge or judicial candidate, any activities prohibited under this Canon; and


(4) except to the extent permitted by Canon 7D, not authorize or knowingly permit any person to do for the candidate what the judge or judicial candidate is prohibited from doing under this Canon.


C. A Judge or a Judicial Candidate May:


(1) At any time:

(a) attend political gatherings;
(b) identify himself or herself as a member of a political party; and
(c) purchase tickets for dinners or other events sponsored by a political organization; provided, however that such events are not in support of a candidate for public office.


(2) In preparation for or during his or her candidacy:

(a) personally solicit publicly stated support;
(b) establish a campaign committee pursuant to the provisions of Canon 7D.


(3) During his or her candidacy:

(a) speak to gatherings on his or her own behalf;
(b) appear in newspaper, television or other media advertisements supporting his or her candidacy;
(c) distribute pamphlets or other promotional campaign literature supporting his or her candidacy;
(d) respond to personal attacks or attacks on the judge or judicial candidate's record as long as the response does not violate Canon 7A(9) and 7B(1); and
(e) contribute to a political organization and/or be included on a political ticket or endorsement.


D. Campaign Committees


(1) Campaign committees may conduct campaigns for the judge or judicial candidate through media advertisements, brochures, mailings, candidate forums and other means not prohibited by law or the provisions of this Code. Such committees may solicit and accept campaign contributions, manage the expenditure of funds for the judge or judicial candidate's campaign and obtain public statements of support for his or her candidacy. However, no undue pressure or coercion may be applied in such solicitation.


(2) A campaign committee may solicit and accept contributions for the judge or judicial candidate's campaign no earlier than two years before the primary election. Contributions may be solicited after the last election in which the judge or judicial candidate participated only for the purpose of extinguishing the campaign debt resulting from a judicial election. After the campaign debt is extinguished, post-election campaign contributions may not be solicited or accepted.


E. Retention of Campaign Contributions. Not later than one year after the beginning of the term of judicial office following an election in which a judge or judicial candidate participates as a contestant, the judge or judicial candidate shall divest himself or herself of any unused campaign funds, in excess of the amount listed below, by pro rata refund to the campaign contributors or by donation to a charitable organization. The judge or judicial candidate may retain campaign funds in the following amounts proportionate to the classification of the office to which the judge or judicial candidate seeks election:

Class of Judicial Office
Amount of Campaign Funds That May Be Retained
Major Office
$300,000
District Office
$200,000
Other Office
$100,000



“Major Office” means the following offices: justice of the supreme court; court of appeal judge; or any district court, family court, or juvenile court judge in a judicial district comprised of a single parish with a population in excess of two hundred fifty thousand persons as determined by the most recently published decennial federal census.


“District Office” means the following offices, but shall not include any Major Office:


(a) The offices of a district, juvenile, or family court judge (except in a judicial district comprised of a single parish with a population in excess of two hundred fifty thousand persons as determined by the most recently published decennial federal census), parish court judge, city court judge, municipal court judge and traffic court judge; or


(b) A justice of the peace in a judicial district comprised of a single parish with a population in excess of two hundred fifty thousand persons as determined by the most recently published decennial federal census.


“Other Office” shall mean any judicial office that is not a Major Office or a District Office.


F. Other Partisan Political Activity. A judge shall not engage in any other partisan political activity except on behalf of measures to improve the law, the legal system or the administration of justice, or as expressly authorized by law or by this Code.


G. Applicability. Canon 7 generally applies to all incumbent judges and judicial candidates. A successful candidate, whether or not an incumbent, is subject to judicial discipline for his or her campaign conduct; an unsuccessful candidate who is a lawyer is subject to lawyer discipline for his or her campaign conduct. A lawyer who is a candidate for judicial office is subject to Rule 8.2(a) and (b) of the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct.


H. Definition of Candidate.
A candidate is a person seeking election or reelection to a judicial office. A person becomes a candidate for judicial office as soon as he or she makes a public announcement of candidacy, declares or files as a candidate with the election or appointment authority, or authorizes solicitation or acceptance of contributions or support, whichever occurs first. The term “candidate” has the same meaning when applied to a judge seeking election to judicial or non-judicial office.


I. Candidacy for Non-Judicial Office. A judge shall resign his or her office when the judge becomes a candidate either in a party primary or in a general election for a non-judicial office, except that a judge may continue to hold judicial office while being a candidate for election to or serving as a delegate in a state constitutional convention, if the judge is otherwise permitted by law to do so.


Commentary To Canon 7


[1] With respect to 7B(3), the "reasonableness" of the measures taken will vary depending on whether the prohibited conduct was carried out by an employee serving at the pleasure of the candidate (whose conduct can be prohibited), others under the direction and control of the candidate (whose conduct can be discouraged), and family members (whose conduct can be encouraged to assist the candidate in complying with the Canons).


[2] A judge or judicial candidate is prohibited from personally soliciting or personally accepting campaign contributions, but is not prohibited from knowing the identities of his or her campaign contributors. A judge or judicial candidate’s campaign committee, but not the judge or judicial candidate, may send thank you notes to the judge or judicial candidate’s campaign contributors.


[3] Canon 7A(8) prohibits a judge from using court staff in a campaign for judicial office. It does not preclude voluntary involvement of court staff in campaign activities away from the courthouse and during non-working hours. Canon 7A(8) does not prohibit the depiction of an incumbent judge inside his or her courtroom while court is not in session.


[4] Canon 7A(10) of the Code of Judicial Conduct, concerning public comments about pending proceedings, is not intended to apply to in-court comments by lawyer candidates, or comments regarding a case or proceeding that the lawyer candidate is participating in. Comments by a lawyer candidate regarding a proceeding that the lawyer candidate is participating in, or a proceeding in which an associate of the lawyer candidate is participating in, are governed by Rule 3.6 of the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct.

[Amended effective April 2, 2012]

 

Compliance with the Code of Judicial Conduct

All elected judges and anyone, whether or not a lawyer, who is an officer of a court of record performing judicial functions, including an officer such as a judge ad hoc, judge pro tempore, referee, special master, court commissioner, judicially appointed hearing officer, or magistrate, and anyone who is a justice of the peace, is a judge for the purpose of this Code.  All judges shall comply with this Code.

A. Part-Time Judge.  A part-time judge is a judge who serves on a continuing or periodic basis, but is permitted by law to devote time to some other profession or occupation and whose compensation for that reason is less than that of a full-time judge.

A part-time judge:

(1) is exempt from Canons 5C(2), 5D, and 5E;

(2) shall not practice law in the court on which he or she serves or in any court subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the court on which he or she serves, or act as a lawyer in a proceeding in which he or she has served as a judge or in any other proceeding related thereto.

B. Pro Tempore and Ad Hoc Judges.  A judge pro tempore is a person who is appointed to act temporarily as a judge.  A judge ad hoc is a person who is appointed to act with regard to a specific case or cases.

(1) While acting as such, a judge pro tempore or ad hoc is not required to comply with Canons 5C(2), 5C(3), 5D, and 5E.

(2) A person who has been a judge ad hoc or judge pro tempore shall not act as a lawyer in a proceeding in which he or she has served as a judge or in any other proceeding related thereto.

C. Retired Judge.  A retired judge is not governed by the provisions of this Code, except when sitting by assignment, and then the judge shall be subject to the rules applicable to judges pro tempore and ad hoc.

D. Judicially Appointed Hearing Officers.  Judicially appointed hearing officers are required to comply with all canons of the Code except Canons 5C(2), 5D, and 5E.

E. Special Masters. During the tenure of his or her appointment in accordance with statutory law, a special master is required to comply with all of the provisions of Canons 1 through 5, except Canons 5C(3), 5D, and 5E. In addition, a special master will not be subject to the prohibitions in Canons 4B, 4C, 5B(2), and 5C(2). As to Canons 6 and 7, a special master is required to comply with Canon 6B(1) and is prohibited from soliciting or accepting political campaign contributions while serving as a special master. A special master who becomes a candidate for judicial office shall be subject to all of the provisions of Canon 7 that apply to judicial candidates. [enacted effective June 23, 2014]

Amended Oct. 29, 1982; Amended and effective June 3, 1993; amended July 3, 1996, effective July 8, 1996; amended effective June 23, 2014.

 

Committee on Judicial Ethics

To the end that these canons may be properly interpreted, and in order to provide a forum to receive inquiries from members of the judiciary related to the interpretation of these canons, the Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics is hereby created. The function of this Committee shall be limited to the issuance of advisory opinions on its own motion or in response to inquiries from any judge or judicial candidate insofar as these canons may affect that judge or judicial candidate. Potential judicial candidates are also permitted to seek advisory opinions from the Committee upon submission of a sworn affidavit certifying that the potential candidate is legitimately considering running for election to a specified judicial office and requires clarification on an ethical issue directly impacting that candidate. Advisory opinions may be publicly disseminated, but the identity of the requesting judge shall be confidential. Advisory opinions are not binding, nor may they be cited in legal briefs or memoranda.  [amended effective June 19, 2012]

The Committee shall consist of eleven members, as follows:

(a) The Chief Justice and one other member of the Supreme Court;

(b) The Chairperson of the Conference of Court of Appeal Judges and one other Court of Appeal Judge;

(c) The President of the District Judges Association and two other District Judges;

(d) The President of the City Judges Association;

(e) One juvenile or family court judge;

(f) The Judicial Administrator; and

(g) The President of the Louisiana State Bar Association.

The members of said Committee shall be selected and appointed in the following manner and for the terms indicated:

(a) The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall always be a member and shall be chairperson during his or her term of office as Chief Justice;

(b) The Supreme Court shall select an Associate Justice who shall serve for a term of two years;

(c) The Supreme Court shall select one district court judge and one juvenile or family court judge who shall serve for terms of two years;

(d) The Conference of Court of Appeal Judges shall select one member to serve on the Committee for two years;

(e) The District Judges Association shall select one member to serve on the Committee for two years;

(f) The Chairperson of the Conference of Court of Appeal Judges, the President of the District Judges Association, the Judicial Administrator, and the President of the Louisiana State Bar Association shall, ex officio, be members of the Committee and shall serve during their respective terms of office.

The Judicial Administrator shall be Secretary of the Committee.  The Committee shall make its own rules and select members to serve in such other offices as it creates.

The Committee shall act upon all inquiries as promptly as the nature of the case requires.

Amended Oct. 31, 1975, effective Jan. 1, 1976; Amended and effective June 3, 1993; amended July 3, 1996, effective July 8, 1996; amended May 28, 1998, effective July 1, 1998; amended and effective June 19, 2012.

 

As amended through June 23, 2014.