Formal and Informal Advice Requests from Judges
Yes. If any judge has a question about whether potential future conduct may violate any Canons, the judge may request either informal advice or a formal Advisory Opinion. Judges can call the office at (334) 242-4089 to discuss or explain any questions, but to facilitate a response, the Commission asks judges to submit any questions or requests in writing, which can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For informal advice, the judge will receive a letter in response endeavoring to answer the question. The letter may be labeled “Personal & Confidential.” That simply means that it is directed to the judge, not a staff member or anyone else. However, while the Commission is required to maintain the confidentiality of all proceedings the judge is not. The judge is free to share the advice with anyone.
Formal Advisory Opinions will be published (without any identifying information) to aid all judges with similar questions in the future. The Commission has issued 955 Advisory Opinions to date, which can be found here.