Requesting Opinions

The online Opinion Request Form is currently out of service. Please contact CJEO to request an opinion:

 

Who May Request Opinions:

Judicial officers and candidates for judicial office may request written opinions and oral advice from CJEO (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 9.80(i)(2); CJEO rule 6 (b)).

Any person or entity may suggest topics to be addressed by the committee in a formal written opinion (rule 9.80(i)(1); CJEO rule (a)).

 

 How to Request an Opinion or Suggest a Topic:

Requests for opinions and topic suggestions may be made using the CJEO forms on this website.  Requests for oral advice may be made by contacting CJEO or by contacting any committee member directly.

 

Types of Opinions Provided by CJEO:

CJEO provides formal written opinions that are made public on this website and are distributed to those who are interested in receiving copies.

CJEO also provides informal written opinions that are given privately to those who have requested the opinion.  CJEO’s informal opinions are summarized and posted on this website, without identifying the individuals whose conduct is the subject of the informal opinions.

CJEO refers all requests for oral advice to the California Judges Association (CJA), which provides ethics advice to all judges on the CJA Ethics Committee hotline.  (CJEO rule 4(a).)  In some cases, CJEO will provide those requesting oral advice with citations to sources that may resolve the issue, but if the cited sources do not resolve the issue for the person requesting advice, CJEO will refer the person to the CJA Ethics Committee hotline.  However, CJEO may provide oral advice when a judge or candidate declines to contact CJA, or when an opinion has been issued or is pending from CJEO that will provide a definitive answer.  Oral advice provided by CJEO may be summarized and posted on this website, without identifying the individuals whose conduct is the subject of the advice.

 

The Committee’s Discretion in Providing Opinions:

CJEO members consider all requests for opinions and topic suggestions (CJEO rule 7(a)).  However, the committee has discretion to decide the subjects that are appropriate for it to address and whether it will issue opinions or give advice (rule 9.80(i)(1); CJEO rule 6(a)).  The committee also has discretion to decide the type of opinion or advice it will provide when addressing any subject.  For example, when any type of written opinion is requested, the committee votes on whether to address the subject of the request, and if so, whether to respond by issuing a public formal opinion, a private informal opinion, or by providing private oral advice.  It is important to note that in exercising its discretion, the committee will not issue any public response or opinion that identifies the individual whose conduct is the subject of the request (CJEO confidentiality policy).

 

How to View or Request Opinions Issued by CJEO:

To provide guidance on judicial ethics to the judiciary and the public, all CJEO formal opinions are posted on this website and may be searched or downloaded.  All CJEO informal opinions are summarized and posted on this website.  Oral advice provided by CJEO may be summarized and posted in this website.  Anyone interested in receiving a copy of CJEO’s formal opinions may join the distribution list by providing contact information.