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Opinion

Opinion CJE Opinion No. 2001-8

Date: 06/01/2001
Organization: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

The following is an archived advisory opinion of the Committee on Judicial Ethics (CJE) from the time period of 1989 through 2014, and the Code of Judicial Conduct that was in effect from October 1, 2003 to December 31, 2015. Archived advisory opinions also include the Code that was in effect through September 30, 2003. The Supreme Judicial Court adopted a new Massachusetts Code of Judicial Conduct, effective on January 1, 2016. A judge should not rely on any pre- 2016 CJE Advisory Opinion without contacting Supreme Judicial Court Senior Attorney Barbara F. Berenson, counsel to the Committee on Judicial Ethics, at Barbara.Berenson@jud.state.ma.us or 617- 557-1048.

Retired Judge, Voice Mail Recording

After resigning from your position as a judge, you have begun a solo practice in dispute resolution. In that regard, your letterhead reflects the fact that you are a retired judge and you recognize that some people may continue to address you as "Judge." You have asked whether there is any ethical prohibition to having a recording on your voicemail that states "You have reached the voicemail of Judge ______," rather than "You have reached the voicemail of (name only)."

With the exception of Canon 8, which deals with recall judges and with the six-month interval between retirement from the bench and appearance in various courts, the Code of Judicial Conduct does not purport to govern the conduct of retired judges. Nothing in the Code, therefore, provides an answer to the question you have raised. Because the Committee's mandate is limited to deciding questions arising under the Code, the Committee regrets that it cannot provide you with the advice your request seeks. For such assistance as it may be, however, the Committee is enclosing a copy of its Opinion 2001-3, in which a related question was asked, and a copy of the MBA Committee on Ethics opinion to which Opinion 2001-3 referred.

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