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Ethical Opinions for Clerks of the Courts
This is in response to your letter of April 21, 1998 requesting advice from the Committee. You recently were appointed as an Assistant Clerk in the District Court. You are also an elected Library Trustee in the town of . You ask for the Committee's opinion on whether your continued service as library trustee would violate the Code of Professional Responsibility for Clerks of the Court.
Under Canon 6(4) of the Code, a non-elected Clerk Magistrate shall not "hold or seek an elective public office if there is a substantial likelihood that matters involving that office will come before the Clerk-Magistrate or the court in which the Clerk-Magistrate serves." It is the view of this Committee that there is no substantial likelihood that matters involving your service as library trustee in would come before you in your capacity as Assistant Clerk at the District Court, which does not include the town of within its jurisdiction. In our opinion, your service as library trustee is the type of civic activity permitted under Canon 5 and does not present a conflict with your position as Assistant Clerk.
Should a matter involving the library come before you in your capacity as Assistant Clerk, you should consult and comply with the provisions of Canon 4(E) on disqualification.