[Rev. 11/20/2013 5:11:22 PM--2013]

PART VIII.  RULES GOVERNING THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON JUDICIAL ETHICS

      Rule 1.  Creation and organization of the committee.

      1.  Creation and purpose.  The Standing Committee on Judicial Ethics is hereby created to provide judges and aspirants to judicial office advisory opinions regarding ethical matters that may arise in the ordinary course of judicial service, or in the elective or appointment process.

      2.  Organization of the committee.  The committee shall consist of thirty members. Twelve shall be attorneys, twelve shall be non-attorneys, and six shall be judges designated to serve on the ethics advisory committee as provided in Rule 5.

      The Board of Governors of the State Bar shall appoint the attorney members, and the Governor may appoint the non-attorney members. If the Governor declines to appoint, then the Board of Governors of the State Bar and the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline shall each appoint six of the non-attorney members. The supreme court shall appoint three district judges and three judges serving either as municipal court judges or justices of the peace.

      When appointing the non-attorney members, consideration shall be given to each appointee’s experience in the areas of advertising and public relations, journalism, regulatory bodies, politics and political campaigns, and also to the appointee’s other qualifications and experience as will ensure that diverse points of view are represented on the committee.

      (a) Terms.  Appointments or reappointments are for a two-year term of office. The initial membership shall have staggered terms. No member shall be appointed to more than four consecutive full terms.

      (b) Removal.  Committee members are not subject to removal by their appointing authority during their terms of office, except for cause. Cause includes unexcused failures to attend scheduled meetings, the number of which the committee shall set in an attendance policy.

      3.  Officers of the committee.  There shall be a chair and vice-chair. The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline shall appoint the chair and vice-chair from the attorney members of the committee for two-year terms.

      4.  Executive director of the committee.  The executive director of the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline shall act as the executive director of the committee.

      [Added; effective December 1, 1997; amended, effective July 29, 2011.]

      Rule 2.  Functions of the committee.  The committee shall:

      1.  Render non-binding advisory opinions on hypothetical questions regarding the Nevada Code of Judicial Conduct; and

      2.  Assist the supreme court by studying and recommending additions to, amendments to, or repeal of provisions of the Nevada Code of Judicial Conduct or other laws governing the conduct of judges and judicial candidates.

      [Added; effective December 1, 1997; amended, effective July 29, 2011.]

      Rule 3.  Conflicts of interest.  Committee members shall not participate in any matter in which they have either a material pecuniary interest that would be affected by a proposed advisory opinion or committee recommendation, or any other conflict of interest which prevents them from participating. However, no action of the committee will be invalid where full disclosure of a potential conflict of interest has been made and the committee has decided that the member’s participation was not improper.

      [Added; effective December 1, 1997.]

      Rule 4.  Reserved.

 

      Rule 5.  Ethics advisory committee.  The attorney members of the Standing Committee on Judicial Ethics and Election Practices and six judges appointed by the supreme court shall function as an ethics advisory committee. The committee has the authority to render non-binding advisory opinions on hypothetical questions regarding the Nevada Code of Judicial Conduct. The advisory opinions may also be issued by a panel of the ethics advisory committee.

      1.  Opinions.  Any opinion issued by the committee expresses the judgment of the committee and is advisory only. When it is determined that a request warrants a written opinion, the opinion shall:

      (a) Set forth hypothetical facts of the ethical question presented in a general manner without identification of the requesting judge or judicial candidate or any details of the request which would permit such identification;

      (b) Identify the judicial canons relied upon and include other authorities relevant to the disposition of the opinion;

      (c) Include a discussion and conclusion;

      (d) Be signed by the chair or vice-chair of the committee; and

      (e) Conclude with the following statement:

 

       This opinion is issued by the Standing Committee on Judicial Ethics and Election Practices. It is advisory only. It is not binding upon the courts, the State Bar of Nevada, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline, any person or tribunal charged with regulatory responsibilities, any member of the Nevada judiciary, or any person or entity which requested the opinion.

 

      2.  Panels.  The ethics advisory committee may be divided into panels of eight members each. The chair or vice-chair, one district judge, and one municipal judge or justice of the peace shall be members of each panel.

      3.  Filing and delivery.  The formal advisory opinion shall be furnished by personal delivery or first-class mail to the address provided by the requesting party. The committee shall also file a copy of the opinion with the clerk of the supreme court. All formal advisory opinions shall be numbered and maintained on file at the committee’s office, together with all materials considered by the committee in adopting the opinion, and shall be available to any member of the bench or bar upon request. A reasonable charge to defray the costs of reproduction of such opinions and postage may be collected.

      4.  Limitations.  The committee shall not act on requests for opinions when any of the following circumstances exist:

      (a) There is a pending state bar or judicial discipline commission complaint, investigation, proceeding, or litigation concerning the subject of the request.

      (b) The request constitutes a complaint against a member of the judiciary.

      (c) The request involves procedures employed by the judicial discipline commission in processing complaints against judges.

      (d) The request involves activities, the propriety of which depends principally on a question of law unrelated to judicial ethics.

      (e) Where it is known that the request involves a situation in litigation or concerns threatened litigation or involves the propriety of sanctions within the purview of the courts, such as contempt.

      (f) The committee has by majority vote determined that it would be inadvisable to respond to the request and has specified in writing its reasoning to the person who requested the opinion.

      5.  Confidentiality.  Except for the opinions issued by the committee, all meetings, deliberations, materials considered, and work product of the committee shall be confidential.

      [Added; effective December 1, 1997; amended, effective July 29, 2011.]

      Rule 6.  Recommendations for revision or amendment of canons of judicial conduct and other laws governing judges or judicial candidates.  The committee shall study and submit recommendations to the supreme court regarding proposed changes to the Nevada Code of Judicial Conduct or other laws governing the conduct of judges and judicial candidates.

      [Added; effective December 1, 1997; amended, effective July 29, 2011.]

      Rule 7.  Immunity.  The members of the committee and all staff persons assisting them shall have absolute immunity from civil liability for all acts undertaken in the course of their official duties pursuant to these rules.

      [Added; effective December 1, 1997.]