Whether Code applies to Assistant Case Manager (title changed from Assistant Register) regarding engaging in political activities such as membership in political organizations and attending fundraisers
December 17, 2007
You have requested an advisory opinion as to whether the Code of Professional Responsibility for Clerks of the Courts applies to you as an Assistant Case Manager in the Probate and Family Court Department. You have further inquired as to whether you are exempt from Canon 6 of the Code of Professional Responsibility regarding engaging in certain political activities such as membership in political organizations and attending political fundraisers. You have stated within your request that the titles of Assistant Register and First Assistant Register were changed by statute in October 2006 to Assistant Judicial Case Manager and Judicial Case Manager respectively. These name changes were made after the adoption of G.L. Chapter 217, § 23A and 23.
You have also indicated that the legislation did not change any of the essential duties and responsibilities of the positions. Further, you indicate that the current definition of a "Clerk Magistrate" under the Supreme Judicial Court Code of Responsibility reflects only the old titles of Assistant Register and First Assistant Register, S.J.C. Rule 3:12, Canon 1.
Given that the statutory changes reflect only a change in the job titles and not the duties, responsibilities, or roles of the Assistant Judicial Case Manager or Judicial Case Manager in the administration of justice, it is our view that the Code of Responsibility still applies to all persons who hold such positions. As such you would not be exempt from the Code and all Canons would still apply to you. You should review Canon 6 as to the particular political activities that are prohibited in your role as an Assistant Judicial Case Manager.