April 24, 1978


TO: Magistrates
FROM: Neal Forney, Assistant Director
RE: Provisions of Rule 501 Relating to Magistrates as Candidates for a Non-Judicial Office

Some magistrates have become candidates in party primaries for non-judicial offices such as the General Assembly and judicial offices such as probate judge. Because of the provisions of Rule 501, Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 7, Item (3) this section is as follows, "A judge should resign his office when he becomes a candidate either in a party primary or in a general election for a non-judicial office. . ."

The Attorney General has provided an Opinion about the holding of a judicial office by a magistrate who has become a candidate for probate judge or county council. The conclusion of the Opinion is that a magistrate is a judge within the unified judicial system and is subject to the provisions of Canon 7 of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Magistrates who are candidates for office should resign their judicial position if the office they are seeking is non-judicial. They should not resign if the position being sought is a judicial office.

Chief Judges have been requested to discuss this memorandum with the magistrates of the county and to provide a list of the magistrates who are candidates in a party primary or the general election for judicial and non-judicial office.