Medina County Courthouse

Monday, December 08, 2008

Canon 2 (C) (5) of the Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct

I recently attended a seminar on ethics that dealt with whether a judge or judicial officer can ethically receive any sort of gift. The giving of gifts is covered by Canon 2, (C) (5) of the Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct. Here is a copy of that Canon:

(5) A judge shall not accept and shall urge members of the judge's family residing in the judge's household not to accept a gift, bequest, favor, or loan from anyone except for:

(a) A gift incident to a public testimonial, books, tapes and other resource materials supplied by publishers on a complimentary basis for official use, or an invitation to the judge and the judge's spouse or guest to attend a bar-related function or an activity devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice;

(b) A gift, award, or benefit incident to the business, profession, or other separate activity of a spouse or other family member of a judge residing in the judge's household, including gifts, awards, and benefits for the use of both the spouse or other family member and the judge (as spouse or family member), provided the gift, award, or benefit could not reasonably be perceived as intended to influence the judge in the performance of judicial duties;

(c) Ordinary social hospitality;

(d) A gift from a relative or friend for a special occasion such as a wedding, anniversary, or birthday if the gift is commensurate with the occasion and the relationship;

(e) A gift, bequest, favor, or loan from a relative or close personal friend whose appearance or interest in a case would in any event require disqualification under Canon 3(E).

(f) A loan from a lending institution in its regular course of business on the same terms generally available to persons who are not judges;

(g) A scholarship or fellowship awarded on the same terms and based on the same criteria applied to other applicants; or

(h) Any other gift, bequest, favor, or loan, only if the donor is not a party or other person who has come or is likely to come or whose interests have come or are likely to come before the judge and, if its value exceeds one hundred fifty dollars, the judge reports it in the same manner as the judge reports compensation in division (D) of this canon.

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