Opinion 23-30

Short-Form Opinion


March 23, 2023



Question:    May a full-time judge appear in a short documentary film by a non-profit filmmaker about a state statute, describing their work with a judicial association in support of that statute’s adoption?


Discussion:  We have previously advised that a judge may appear without compensation in a documentary film to discuss their prior work, regardless of whether the film is produced by a non-profit or commercial entity (Opinion 17-163/18-03/18-21).[1]  A wide variety of topics is permissible, including both law-related topics and a judge’s professional experiences (Opinion 22-159).  Thus, you may appear in the documentary film as described.  As always, your participation is subject to all applicable limitations on judicial speech and conduct, including the rule prohibiting comment on pending or impending cases (see Opinion 21-67).  



Enclosed:    Opinions 22-159; 17-163/18-03/18-21; 21-67.


[1] Where the documentary is produced by a commercial entity, a full-time judge may not be compensated for their participation (see Opinion 17-163/18-03/18-21).