Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics
Canon 2. A judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all his activities.
A. A judge should respect and comply with the law and should conduct himself at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
B. A judge should at all times maintain the decorum and temperance befitting his office and should avoid conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings the judicial office into disrepute.
C. A judge should not allow his family, social, political, or other relationships to influence his judicial conduct or judgment. He should not lend the prestige of his office to advance the private interests of others; nor should he convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence him. He should not testify voluntarily as a character witness at any hearing before any court, or judicial or governmental commission.
[Amended 5-7-80; Amended 8-25-2004.]
Public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by irresponsible or improper conduct by judges. A judge must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety. He must expect to be the subject of constant public scrutiny. He must, therefore, accept restrictions on his conduct that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen and should do so freely and willingly.
The testimony of a judge as a character witness injects the prestige of his office into the proceeding in which he testifies and may be misunderstood to be an official testimonial. This Canon, however, does not exempt a judge from testifying if he is officially summoned. This Canon does not per se prohibit a judge from writing a letter of recommendation disclosing personal information of someone’s experience, character or ability. Such letter, however, should not be written if the recipient is engaged in litigation before the judge or it is likely that the recipient will be engaged in proceedings that would ordinarily come before the court.
Note from the reporter of decisions: The order amending Canon 2.C., Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics, effective August 25, 2004, is published in that volume of Alabama Reporter that contains Alabama cases from 879 So.2d.