Judicial Elections – Code of Judicial Conduct – Definitions

“Candidate.” A candidate is a person seeking selection for judicial office by election or appointment. Persons become candidates for judicial office as soon as they make public announcements of candidacy, declare or file as candidates with the election or appointment authority, or authorize solicitation or acceptance of contributions or support. The term “candidate” has the same meaning when applied to a judge seeking election or appointment to non-judicial office. See Preamble and Canon 5.

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“Independent persons, committees or organizations” shall mean an individual person or organization not required to report as affiliated with a campaign for judicial office. See Section 5F.

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“Law” denotes court rules as well as statutes, constitutional provisions and decisional law. See Sections 2A, 3A, 3B(2), 3B(7), 4B, 4C, 4F, 4I, 5A(2), 5A(3), 5B(2), 5C, 5D, and 5F.

“Major donor”, for the purposes of Section 3E(2), shall be defined as follows:

(a) If the donor is an individual, “donor” means that individual, the individual’s spouse, or the individual’s or the individual’s spouse’s child, mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, grandchild, employee and employee’s spouse.

(b) If the donor is an entity other than an individual, “donor” means the entity, its employees, officers, directors, shareholders, partners members, and contributors and the spouse of any of them.

(c) A “major donor” is a donor who or which has, in the judge’s most recent election campaign, made a contribution to the judge’s campaign of (a) more than $2,000 if the judge is a justice of the Supreme Court or judge of the Court of Appeals, or (b) more than $1,000 if the judge is a judge of a court other than the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals.

(d) The term “contribution to the judge’s campaign” shall be the total of all contributions to a judge’s campaign and shall be deemed to include all contributions of every kind and type whatsoever, whether in the form of cash, goods, services, or other form of contribution, and whether donated directly to the judge’s campaign or donated to any other person or entity for the purpose of supporting the judge’s campaign and/or opposing the campaign of the judge’s opponent(s). The term “contribution to a judge’s campaign” shall also be deemed to include any publication, advertisement or other release of information, or payment therefor, other than a bona fide news item published by existing news media, which contains favorable information about the judge or which contains unfavorable information about the judge’s opponent(s).

“Member of the candidate’s family” denotes a spouse, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, siblings, or other relative or person with whom the candidate maintains a close familial relationship. See Section 5A(3)(a).

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“Political organization” denotes a political party or other group, the principal purpose of which is to further the election or appointment of candidates to political office. See Sections 5A(1).

“Public election.” This term includes primary and general elections; it includes partisan elections and nonpartisan elections. See Section 5C.


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