Contact the Committee

All correspondence to the Committee must be sent to:

Committee on Judicial Responsibility and Disability
P.O. Box 8058
Portland, ME 04104-8058

To reach the Committee by phone:

(207) 780-4364

PLEASE NOTE: The Committee cannot be contacted by email.

 

The Committee investigates complaints, holds hearings, makes findings, reports misconduct or disability, and recommends disciplinary action to the Supreme Judicial Court. The committee is not a substitute for an appeal or other remedy in the litigation itself.

The Committee cannot intervene in or change court proceedings or decisions in any way, and it should not be relied on for that purpose.

If you disagree with or wish to contest a ruling in your case it may be appropriate for you to file an appeal.

Click here for more information about the appeal process.

 

Advisory Opinions

Judicial Disciplinary decisions are issued by the Judicial Branch Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics. Information about the Judicial Branch Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics is available on the Judicial Branch Cimmittees webpage at this link www.courts.state.me.us/maine_courts/education/committees.shtml.

Note: Most documents on this web site are in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF). To view or print these files you must install the free Adobe Reader.

 

Opinion Number
Date
Subject
Opinion 91-1 8/20/91 Recusal
Opinion 91-2 2/24/92 Recusal
Opinion 92-1 6/25/92 Conflict of interest.
Opinion 92-2 8/27/92 Real estate foreclosure action.
Opinion 92-3 1/5/93 Judicial Department participation in programs funded by the MBF.
Opinion 93-1 5/24/93 Attendance at MCLU Scolnik Award Dinner
Opinion 93-2 7/14/93 Disqualification by a judge in cases involving sheriffs or members of the Trial Lawyers Assn. because spouse's law firm lobbies for them.
Opinion 93-3 7/14/93 Disqualification by a judge from hearing criminal cases prosecuted by DA because spouse of judge is the brother of the DA.
Opinion 93-4 5/24/93 Board of Overseers asking judge whether there was a request for alimony and his reasons for not granting it on a case on appeal.
Opinion 94-1 6/27/94 Can an active retired justice engage in mediation when he is unassigned?
Opinion 94-2 6/28/94 Recusal in a post-judgment motions in divorce proceeding.
Opinion 94-3 9/13/94 Judge's spouse is a candidate for election to the State Legislature.
Opinion 96-1 2/7/96 Does the Maine Code of Judicial Conduct forbid a probate judge from serving as an elected member of a directing board of a charitable institution, a bank or other such private entity?
Opinion 96-2 5/8/96 Disqualification under Canon 3(E).
Opinion 97-1 6/26/97 Does the Code of Judicial Conduct permit judge to accept award and monetary prize?
Opinion 97-2 9/4/97 Can a judge express opinions in a survey on the performance of DHS which frequently appears as a petitioner before the courts?
Opinion 97-3 10/14/97 Whether a judge may act as a cashier at a used book sale held to benefit a non-profit library or at a food stand operated by a charitable organization.
Opinion 98-1 4/15/98 Whether Maine Trial Judges Assn. may accept a $1,000 donation or honorarium for continuing judicial education from Maine Trial Lawyers Association.
Opinion 98-2 5/98 Since the passage of 4 M.R.S.A. § 312, do Canons 5(A)(1)(e) or (f); or 5(C)(3) have any further validity?
Opinion 98-3 7/28/98 Do the provisions of the Maine Code of Judicial Conduct prohibit a judge from writing a letter of recommendation? If the judge is permitted to do so, may the judge use judicial letterhead?
Opinion 98-4 7/28/98 May a judge serve as an elected moderator at a town meeting or as an appointed member of a municipal board of appeals?
Opinion 98-5 8/3/98 The Judicial Education Committee has been requested to consider several questions concerning the application of the Maine Code of Judicial Conduct to the political activities of probate judges and candidates for judge of probate.
Opinion 99-1 10/18/99 A judge of probate has been requested to write an article on "trust based estate planning." May the byline refer to the judge's position?
Opinion 99-2 10/18/99 A judge of probate has been invited to serve as a moderator of a cable television program. Does the Code of Judicial Conduct permit the judge to participate in this program as the moderator?
Opinion 99-3 12/28/99 An insurance company that provides health coverage to all state employees, including judges, is in litigation with past or present state employees. Does the Code disqualify a judge from that proceeding because the insurer who is party to that action also provides health insurance to that judge as part of that judge's employment?
Opinion 01-1 1/11/01 Does the Maine Code of Judicial Conduct require a trial judge to report evidence of criminal conduct, revealed during the course of a trial, to an appropriate investigating or prosecuting authority?
Opinion 01-2 1/11/01 Does the Maine Code of Judicial Conduct prohibit a judge from participating in a family-run business of selling Christmas trees?
Opinion 02-1 3/05/02 Whether participation of Maine judges as a "Judicial Fellow" in the Association of Trial Lawyers of America comports with the Maine Code of Judicial Conduct.
Opinion 02-2 7/16/02 Whether a judge may serve on a "mini-capital campaign" committee to raise funds for the renovation of a local hospital.
Opinion 02-3 7/23/02 Whether the Maine Judiciary may accept certain items provided them as gifts to the visiting Chief Justices and their families attending the Rockport, Maine meeting of the National Conference of Chief Justices.
Opinion 02-4 8/28/02 Whether a judge may speak at a luncheon held as a fundraising event.
Opinion 02-5 9/11/02

Whether a sitting Judge of Probate may seek the office of State Senator without resigning his position.

Opinion 02-6 11/04/02 May a bail commissioner become a candidate for city council without resigning his/her position? If the answer is yes, if elected, may the bail commissioner continue acting as a bail commissioner?
Opinion 02-7 11/19/02 May a Judge be a member of the Board of Directors of a nonprofit educational foundation or of a nonprofit home/school, or of a center which is the consolidation of a Boys/Girls club and YMCA?
Opinion 02-8 12/06/02 Whether District Court Judges and Probate Court Judges may respond to a federal review survey being conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to review state child and family service programs in order to ensure substantial conformity with the state plan requirements. Specifically, the review covers protective services, foster care, adoption, family preservation, family support, and independent living.
Opinion 03-1 07/24/03 Whether a Probate Judge may respond to a subpoena to appear before an arbitration hearing concerning his staff's pending grievances against the Register of Probate.
Opinion 03-2 08/26/03 May a Probate Judge permit his likeness to appear in a brochure to be issued and distributed by the Maine Children's Home.
Opinion 03-3 11/06/03 What are the responsibilities of a Probate Judge who receives information that indicates that the personal representative of an estate has improperly diverted estate assets to his own use?
Opinion 03-4 12/05/03 May a Justice of the Superior Court accept an appointment to serve on the Board of Directors of the about-to-be-established Lincoln and Sagadahoc MultiCounty Jail Authority created by Chapter 228 of the Public Laws of Maine 2003?
Opinion 05-1 6/17/05 May a Probate Judge, who faced with various motions for recusal and who would normally recuse himself under Canon 3E(2)(a), refuse to disqualify himself pursuant to Canon 3E(5), which provides as follows: (see opinion).
Opinion 05-2 9/21/05 May a Maine Judge who has been appointed and qualified be barred from participating under Canon 4(D)(3) from the calculation and payment of his share of his former law firm's income in December, 2005 for that portion of the year prior to his undertaking the judgeship; namely, January 1, 2005 to August 30, 2005.
Opinion 05-3 10/18/05 May a Maine Judge participate as a member of a musical group in the following activity.
Opinion 05-4 10/25/05 May a Maine Probate Judge appear in public in support of her husband, who will be seeking the Republican nomination for Governor.
Opinion 05-5 11/14/05 May a Maine Probate Judge act as State Chairman of a political committee formed by and in support of a candidate for Governor in the upcoming primaries.
Opinion 06-1 11/10/06 May a Maine Probate Judge act as Counsel to a candidate for the Maine Legislature in a recount to determine the person to be certified as the person elected in the last general election to the Maine House of Representatives.
Opinion 07-1 8/9/07 Whether a Judge of the Maine District Court would violate any of the Canons of Judicial Conduct in presiding and carrying out the duties assigned to the Advisory Committee on Children and Families
Opinion 07-2 10/05/07 Whether a Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court could violate any of the Canons of Judicial Conduct, in view of the following facts. (See opn.)
Opinion 07-3 11/05/07 May a Judge of the Superior Court be honored by the County Bar Association and attend a dinner in his honor to recognize his years of service, even though he may be appointed an Active Retired Judge and will be carrying on his judicial duties thereafter.
Opinion 07-4 11/05/07 May a Judge of the Superior Court violate any of the Canons of Judicial Conduct in view of the following facts. (See opn.)
Opinion 07-5 11/06/07 Does a Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court violate any canon of judicial conduct in donating royalties from the sale of a book he authored to a law library, if the library publicizes that it will benefit from the sale
Opinion 08-1 1/5/09 Is a Judge of the Superior Court required to recuse in cases in which the Maine Attorney General's office is involved if the Attorney General is the sister of the Judge's spouse?
Opinion 09-1 2/12/09 Is a Judge of the Superior Court required to recuse in cases in which the Judge's lawyer son-in-law and/or his law firm appears before the Judge?
Opinion 09-2 8/19/09 May a sitting Probate Judge act as an expert witness?
Opinion 09-3 10/29/09 May a retired District Court Judge in non-active retired status who plans to undertake in his personal capacity alternative dispute resolution matters contact former judicial colleagues and others announcing his new undertaking?
Opinion 09-4 11/25/09 A Probate Judge has inquired as to the present applicability of Advisory Opinion 97-3, issued October 14, 1997. The issue in Opinion 97-3 was whether a judge may act as a cashier at a used book sale held to benefit a non profit library or at a food stand operated by a charitable organization
Opinion 10-1 9/22/2010 May a judge attend a reception hosted by the Maine Trial Lawyer's Association ("MTLA") honoring past presidents of the organization, followed by a dinner in recognition of the career of a prominent Maine trial attorney? If so, may a judge attend the function at a reduced rate offered by the MTLA so as to avoid making a monetary contribution to the organization?
Opinion 10-2 10/27/2010

A Probate Judge has requested the Committee evaluate the following issue: A County is seeking voter approval of a bond issue that would move the Probate Court, Deeds, Commissioners, and treasurer into an adjacent building. The proposal would provide the Probate Court with a modern courtroom, chambers, waiting area away from the criminal court, and room to store probate records.

This particular referendum also includes the Registry of Deeds , County Commissioners' offices and a renovated dispatch center at the Sheriff's office.

The Probate Judge would like to air a radio spot that he would pay for advocating approval and speaking of the probate court needs and the registry of deeds needs.