Chronological Index of Judicial Ethics Opinions

This index includes all of the formal Letter Opinions issued by the Committee on Judicial Ethics.

This index includes all of the formal Letter Opinions issued by the Committee on Judicial Ethics

  • Opinion 2016-1 and all subsequent opinions concern the new Code of Judicial Conduct, effective January 1, 2016. 
  • Opinions 2003-11 through 2014-4 deal with the provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct in effect October 1, 2003, through December 31, 2015. 
  • Opinions 89-1 through 2003-10 deal with the Code of Judicial Conduct in effect until September 30, 2003.

Adoption of the new Code of Judicial Conduct may render certain opinions decided under the Code as it existed prior to January 1, 2016, no longer valid or appropriate. A judge should not rely on any pre-2016 opinion without contacting the Committee on Judicial Ethics. Many sections of the new Code are at least slightly different from cognate sections of the prior Codes and the differences may produce different results.  In many instances where the new Code endorses the analysis of pre-2016 opinions, that analysis is included in the new Code or in the Frequently Asked Questions

Opinion Subject
23-3 Disqualification: Litigant Has Filed a Complaint or Lawsuit Against Judge
23-2 Disqualification: Prior Professional and Personal Relationship with Attorney
23-1 Disqualification: Litigant is Employed by Entity that also Employs Judge’s Child
21-2 Judges as Authors: Novels or Other Works of Fiction
21-1 Duty to Report Perceived Judicial Misconduct
18-4 Disqualification, Party is Former Client of Judge
18-3 Disclosure of Former Facebook Friendship
18-2 New Judge, Communications with Successor Counsel
18-1 Participating in a For-Profit Business
17-5 Definition of Economic Interest
17-4 Participation in Cover Band and Business Band
17-3 Service on Governing Board of a Bar Association
17-2 Participating in University's Video Profile Series
17-1 Public Outreach in Support of the Rule of Law and Judicial Independence
16-13 Testifying as a Character Witness:  Disbarred Attorney's Reinstatement Proceeding
16-12 Disqualification: Litigants are Clients or Employees of Agency Employing Judge's Spouse
16-11 Disqualification: Judge's Spouse Previously Represented a Defendant
16-10 Political Activity: Participating in Women's March on Washington
16-9 Twitter: Using Social Networking Site
16-8 Linked In: Using Social Networking Site
16-7 Service as a Trustee, Close Family-Like Relationship
16-6 Speaking at Community Family Day
16-5 Serving as a Master within Six Months of Retirement
16-4 Donating, Selling, and Exhibiting Photographs
16-3 Practicing in the Federal Courts within Six Months After Retirement
16-2 Service on Board of Nonprofit Organizations
16-1 Facebook:  Using Social Networking Site
14-4 Serving on a Statutory Commission
14-3 Serving on Board of Trust Whose Mission is to Distribute Funds for the Benefit of Persons in the Community Where the Judge Sits
14-2 Attending and Presenting at a Regional Educational Drug Court Conference
14-1 Receiving an award at a bar association event where sponsors have substantial business before the courts
13-1 Accepting pro bono representation
12-3 Hearing cases from former law firm in two-judge division of the Trial Court
12-2 Duty to report attorney identified as "robosigner" to Board of Bar Overseers
12-1 Meeting with Executive Director of Alternative Community Corrections Program
11-6 Facebook: using social networking web site
11-5 Hearing cases and disclosing when spouse is CPCS Appeals Unit staff attorney
11-4 Research Study of Immigrant Women Subject to Domestic Abuse
11-3 Hearing Cases Where Current Tenant and Former Law Partner is Mediator
11-2 Speaking to the Local Chamber of Commerce
11-1 Serving As Advisor to Bar Association Education Conference, Moderating Bench Bar Panel, Attending Bench Bar Reception, and Conference Ball
10-3 Accepting award and money in recognition of community service
10-2 Serving on Board of Directors, non-profit organization providing services to juveniles and families
10-1 Attending Drug Conference, Expenses Reimbursed by Local Foundation
09-5 Subpoena to Testify at a Deposition
09-4 Deferred Associates Serving as Volunteer Interns/Law Clerks
09-3 Serving on Statutory Commission
09-2 Selling, Donating and Exhibiting Landscape Photographs
09-1 Receiving an Award at an Event Where Sponsors Have Substantial Business Before the Courts
08-12 Serving on Hospital Ethics Committee
08-11 Participating in Charity Walk; Charity Websites
08-10 Serving as Guardian of Mentally Incompetent Ward
08-9 Serving as Executor for Long-term Friend
08-8 Serving as a Justice of the Peace
08-7 Appointment to Government Committee
08-6 Obligation to Report Attorney Misconduct to Board of Bar Overseers
08-5 Appearing Before a Federal Court or Agency in Massachusetts; Announcing Name of Firm Judge Will Be Joining
08-4 Attending Trial and Testifying in Litigation Involving Close Family Member
08-3 Withdrawal From Trustee Position After Appointment to Judgeship
08-2 Using Judge's Surname in Title of Former Law Firm During Dissolution; Receiving a Share of Fees Collected by Former Firm
08-1 Trial Judge Being Interviewed by Author for Book about Criminal Case
07-10 Unpublished Opinion
07-9 Accepting Reimbursement of Travel Expenses for Drug Court Training Program
07-8 Duty to Report Attorney and Judge for Misconduct in Another Court
07-7 Reporting to Law Enforcement Authorities Impounded Information Learned From Criminal Defense Attorney
07-6 Speaking at Conference Sponsored by Regular Litigant in Judge's Court
07-5 Acting on Children's Educational Television Program
07-4 Being Guest of Honor at Event Sponsored by Consortium of Law Firms and Other Organizations to Honor Judges of Color
07-3 Umpiring Softball Games for a Fee
07-2 Appearing Before Town Board Regarding Proposed Development on Land Jointly Owned by Judge and Spouse
07-1 Serving as Co-Chair of Advisory Board for Civil Rights Project
06-7 Serving on Board of Nonprofit Organization Devoted to Individuals With Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues
06-6 Recusal -- Hearing Guardianship Cases Brought by Hospital Where Child's Spouse is Employed
06-5 Writing Letter in Support of Nonprofit Organization That Assists Certain Litigants
06-4 Owning Residential and Commercial Properties as Investments
06-3 Attending and Testifying at Clerk-Magistrate's Hearing re Family Dog
06-2 Testifying Pursuant to Subpoena at Former Client's Parole Hearing
06-1 Recusal -- Lawyers and Litigants Who Appear Before Judge Have Patronized Business Establishment Owned by Judge and Judge's Family Members
05-10 Acting as Judge on "People's Court" Type Television Program -- Serving as Consultant for Production Company
05-9 Continuing in Roles of Executor and Trustee After Appointment to the Bench
05-8 Family Member Placing Political Campaign Sign Outside Judge's Home
05-7 Reporting to Proper Authorities Evidence of Possibly Illegal Conduct
05-6 Serving as a "Call Firefighter" in Town Where Judge Resides
05-5 Moderating Discussion on Local Public Access Radio Station
05-4 Accepting Free Products and Services for Official Use
05-3 Serving as Member and Officer of Inn of Court; Involvement in Fundraising and Recruitment
05-2 Serving on Board of Trustees of Private, Nonprofit Hospital
05-1 Using Court Stationery for Letter of Recommendation to Judicial Nominating Commission
04-10 Recusal -- Judge's Family Member is Member of Committee for Public Counsel Services; and Judge Formerly Accepted Appointments from Committee for Public Counsel Services
04-9 Maintaining Social Relationship With Neighbor, an Attorney Who Practices In Judge's Court
04-8 Serving as Judicial Trustee for Massachusetts Bar Foundation
04-7 Writing to District Attorney in Behalf of Former Client Who May Have Been Wrongfully Convicted
04-6 Owning and Managing Residential and Commercial Properties as Investments
04-5 Writing Letter at Court Employee's Request for Use in Disciplinary Proceeding
04-4 Writing Unsolicited Letter for Use in Court Employee's Disciplinary Proceeding
04-3 Involvement in Planning and Fund-Raising for Annual Conference of National Association of Women Judges
04-2 Soliciting Contributions for Private School While Serving on Board of Directors
04-1 Recusal -- Attorney is Former Client of Judge
03-18 Being Featured in City's 350th Anniversary Publication
03-17 Responding to Letter from Crime Victim Regarding Disposition of Case
03-16 Serving on Governor's Commission on Corrections Reform
03-15 Appointment to United Nations Panel on War Crimes, etc. in Foreign Country
03-14 Serving on Advisory Committee for Department of Public Health Planning Grant
03-13 Serving on Subcommittees of Governor's Commission on Criminal Justice Innovation
03-12 Serving on Boston Bar Association Council
03-11 Serving on Private School Investment Committees Following Adoption of New Code
03-10 Duty to Report Ex Parte Communication from Attorney
03-9 Continuing Use of Judge's Surname in Title of Former Firm
03-8 Judge's Obligations When Child Runs for Political Office
03-7 "Appearing" by Video (or by Letter to be Read Aloud) at Fundraiser Contributing to Fundraiser
03-6 Communication with Executive and Legislative Branches Regarding Proposed Closing of Courthouse
03-5 Serving on Boston Bar Association Council
03-4 Recusal -- Spouse is Employed by Nonprofit Organization Serving the Disabled
03-3 Serving as Executor of Estate of Family Friend
03-2 Involvement as Trustee in Parents' Estate Plan
03-1 Receiving Award from Chamber of Commerce
02-20 Accepting Free Services from Surveillance Company
02-19 Serving as Legislative Counsel to Municipality
02-18 Participating in Parent Advisory Council for Special Education
02-17 Recusal -- Fiancé is Assistant District Attorney
02-16 Hosting Call-In Cable Television Show
02-15 Serving as Special Adviser to Branch of Government Other Than Judiciary
02-14 Attending Conference Where Case Pending on Appeal Will be Discussed
02-13 Participating as Panelist at Conference -- Discussing Case Pending on Appeal
02-12 Law School Event Honoring Alumni in Judiciary
02-11 Retaining Membership in Masons, Assuming Leadership Role
02-10 Filing Amicus Brief in Pending Appeal
02-9 Recusal -- Prosecutor is a Former Student of Judge
02-8 Meeting with Candidates for Register of Probate
02-7 Accepting Artwork for Display in Courthouse (and Participating in Selection Committee)
Appearing in Video for Use by Pro Se Litigants
02-6 Receiving Award from Local Bar Association
02-5 Accepting Payment of Case-Related Travel Expenses from Litigants
02-4 Duty to Report Misconduct of Judge and Lawyer
02-3 Retaining Membership in Masons, Assuming Leadership Role
02-2 Representing Self in Matter Before Another Court
02-1 Participating in Activities of Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
01-18 Creating, Exhibiting, and Selling Fine Art Paintings
01-17 Hearing Cases of Attorneys Associated With Father
01-16 Hearing Cases in County Where Son is Assistant District Attorney
01-15 Attending Reception and Dinner for Retiring Mayor
01-14 Serving on Board of Trustees of Savings Bank
01-13 Accepting Indemnification of Legal Fees and Expenses
01-12 Providing Judicial Administration Consulting Services
01-11 Serving on Board of Directors of Nonprofit Publisher
01-10 Hearing Matters Involving Certain Organization
01-9 Serving as Trip Chaperone at Reduced Cost
01-8 Retired Judge, Voice Mail Recording
01-7 Juvenile Justice Roundtable Attend Meetings Probation Officer Attending
01-6 Serving as Member or Officer of Condominium Board of Governors
01-5 Hearing Matters Involving Organization, Judge on Board of Directors
01-4 Child Fatality Review Team Participating Judge - Conflict Judge's Designee - Conflict
01-3 Retired Judge Noticing and Taking Depositions Being Addressed Socially
01-2 Signing Affidavit Supporting New Trial Motion
01-1 Membership in Boy Scouts of America
00-9 Serving on Board of Directors, Community Foundation
00-8 Hiring Court Employees
00-7 Attending, as Guest, Fundraising Event
00-6 Participating in University Advertising Campaign
00-5 Writing Letter Supporting Reinstatement to the Bar
00-4 Participating in Charity Bike Ride
00-3 Holding Social Function for Retiring Judge
00-2 Accepting Durable Power of Attorney, Serving as Executor
00-1 Receiving Extended Payout of Capital Investment in Former Firm
99-17 Accepting Award at Fund-raiser
99-16 Activities as Spouse of Candidate
99-15 Joining/Contributing to Certain Organizations
99-14 Serving as Part-Time Technical Consultant to Television Program
99-13 Signing Nomination Papers
99-12 Attending Program, Expenses Reimbursed by Organization(s) Appearing Before the Judge
99-11 Attending Program, Expenses Reimbursed by Organization(s) Appearing Before the Judge
99-10 Accepting "Man of the Year Award"
99-9 Serving as Adjunct Professor and Sitting on Cases Involving Firm of a Trustee
99-8 Propriety of Presiding on Cases Involving a District Attorney's Office When Spouse is First Assistant District Attorney
99-7 Serving as "Master of Ceremonies"
99-6 Serving on Board of Overseers of S.J.C. Historical Society
99-5 Writing Letter of Recommendation to a Judge
99-4 Accepting Payment of Travel Expenses
99-3 Reporting Attorney's Conduct to Board of Bar Overseers
99-2 Receiving Payments from a Research Institute for Papers to be Written
99-1 Serving on Board of Directors of Center for Health Care Negotiation
98-20 Duty to Disclose Information to Defense Counsel
98-19 Recusal - Proceedings Involving Former Partner
98-18 Being Honored by Bar Association
98-17 Accepting Award and Money
98-16 Attending Meetings of Domestic Violence Roundtables
98-15 Commenting Publicly About Matter in Which Involved
98-14 Maintaining Professional Corporation; Retaining Interest in Closely Held Corporation
98-13 Serving on Community Policing Commission
98-12 Reporting Contact by Another Judge
98-11 Reporting Contact by Another Judge
98-10 Discussing Pending Case With Other Judge
98-9 Attending Meetings of Safe Neighborhood Initiative
98-8 Serving as Bar Association Treasurer; as Chair of Board of Editors
98-7 Serving as Elected Officer or Director of Golf Club
98-6 Appearing as a Witness
98-5 Bar Association Involvement in Court Celebration
98-4 Political Activity by Family Members
98-3 Accepting Compensation for Legal Services Rendered in Practice
98-2 Accepting Award from Association Representing Service Providers
98-1 Inclusion in Law School Booklet re Alumni Judges
97-10 Implementing Case Management System
97-9 Assisting Organizations to Educate Courts
97-8 Touring Section of City With Certain Persons
97-7 Serving as Mass. Bar Section Chair
97-6 Recusal, Matters Involving Co-authors
97-4 , 97-5 Testifying Before General Court Committee
97-3 Serving as Executor
97-2 Serving on Board of Directors of Nonprofit
97-2 Writing Letter Attesting to Character
97-1 Contributing to Mass. Bar Foundation
96-4 Appointment to Task Force Concerning Admission Criteria for Public School
96-3 Propriety of Presiding on Cases Involving a District Attorney's Office When Spouse is First Assistant District Attorney
96-2 Serving on Board of Directors of Legal Services Organization
96-1 Ordering Supervised Visitation at Center run by Children of Court's Family Service Officer
95-10 Acceptance of Publishing Company's Donation of a CD-ROM Product
95-9 Sending Letter of Recommendation to Executive Council
95-8 Attendance at and Receiving Awards at Certain Events, and Making Contributions to Certain Organizations
95-7 Acceptance and Use of Amtrak Rail Pass
95-6 Recusal - Proceedings Involving Members of Former Law Firm
95-5 Recusal from Ongoing Litigation
95-4 Activities, Including Fundraising, on Behalf of A Not-for-Profit Corporation
95-3 Appointment to Sub-Committee of Trustees Overseeing Conflict of Interest Policy
95-2 Service as Shareholder and Treasurer of Investment Partnership
95-1 Appointment as Director of Nonprofit Corporation
94-2 Paying Discounted Bill for Legal Services
94-1 Writing Letters of Recommendation,and Making Recommendations on Behalf of Judicial Candidates
93-3 Owning Office Building with Attorneys as Tenants
93-2 Invitation to Write a Forward to a Book
93-1 Participation in a Publishing Business
92-4 Being Named Man of Year, with Dinner and Program Book
92-3 Obligation to Report Matter to Board of Bar Overseers
92-2 Purchase of Tickets for and Attendance at Charitable Fund-Raiser Honoring a State Senator
92-1 Hearing De Novo Retrials of Cases Tried by Judge's Father,an ADA, and Trials Involving The District Attorney's Staff
91-3 Appointment to Advisory Committee to Hospital
91-2 Appointment to Advisory Committee to Coalition of Agencies Whose "Clients" May Be Involved in Litigation
91-1 Beneficial Interest in Office Building Leased to Party Appearing in Court
90-4 Appointment As Director of Non-Profit Corporation
90-3 Acceptance of Complimentary Books
90-2 Appointment As Director of Organization Involved in Litigation
90-1 Use of Biographical Material of Judge in Former Firm's Brochure
89-8 Recusal - Impartiality re Party and Counsel
89-7 Appointment of Certain Attorney as Guardian Ad Litem
89-6 Appointment of Certain Attorney as Counsel
89-5 Rental of Condominium, Not Available to Public, to Judges
89-4 Appointment to Government Committee
89-3 Separation of Judiciary From Fund-Raising Events
89-2 Recusal - Proceeding Involving Former Partners
Appointment As Director of Legal Services Organization
89-1 Donations For Decorating Court

Contact   for Chronological Index of Judicial Ethics Opinions



John Adams Courthouse, One Pemberton Square, Boston, MA 02108

Help Us Improve  with your feedback

Please do not include personal or contact information.