1997-17: Judge owed money by city prosecutor.

1997-17: Judge Owed Money by City Prosecutor

DISCLAIMER:  This Opinion interprets the 1993 Illinois Code of Judicial Conduct, which was superseded on January 1, 2023, by the 2023 Illinois Code of Judicial Conduct.  This Opinion does not consider or address whether the 2023 Code affects the analysis or conclusion of the Opinion.  A table cross-referencing the 1993 Code to the 2023 Code can be found at  IJEC CORRELATION TABLE.

IJEC Opinion No. 1997-17

July 9, 1997


Judge owed money by city prosecutor. 


Fact that city prosecutor is judge's tenant and owes judge money does not require disqualification of judge from hearing cases prosecuted by part-time assistant prosecutors who have no association with the City prosecutor in private practice. 


Illinois Supreme Court Rule 63(C)(1); Illinois Judicial Ethics Committee Opinion Nos. 96-18; 96-25. 


The judge rents an office to a city prosecutor. The prosecutor owes the judge money. There are also two part- time assistant prosecutors who are not associated in their private practice with the prosecutor in his or her private practice. 


May the judge hear city prosecutions by the two assistant prosecutors?


Whether the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned is again a question of fact. If the circumstances indicated that the judge was favoring the assistant prosecutors so that the city prosecutor would be sure to keep his or her job and be able to pay the judge back the money owed, that would be a situation in which the impartiality of the judge might reasonably be questioned. However, absent such circumstances, it does not appear on the bare facts described that this is a situation in which the judge's business dealings with the City prosecutor could cause the judge's impartiality as to the assistant prosecutors to be reasonably questioned. See Illinois Supreme Court Rule 63(C)(1); IJEC Opinion Nos. 96-18 (disqualification, former co-counsel and relative as lawyer); 96-25 (duty of judge to disqualify where the judge has insurance policies with an insurance company that is a defendant in a case before the judge).