Q Can a justice court judge be employed by the sheriff’s department as a part-time motorcycle instructor? If so, may he receive both his salary as judge and also receive hourly compensation from the county?

A A justice court judge could accept a position with the sheriff’s department as a motorcycle instructor without violating the separation of powers doctrine, since a motorcycle instructor position is not one exercising any core powers of the executive branch. Another potential issue is that a public employee may not be paid by two public entities for the same hours worked; the judge could not perform justice court duties during times for which he is being paid as a motorcycle instructor. One issue to consider is the potential that the judge may have to recuse himself as a judge if officers or employees of the sheriff’s department were appearing before him in court or seeking warrants. This determination would have to be made with reference to the specific facts and the canons of judicial conduct. As to receiving compensation for both offices, this arrangement appears to be allowable, but the MS Ethics Commission should be contacted to determine whether or not this arrangement complies with Section 25-4-105 (Ethics in Government Act). (Attorney General’s Opinion to Neyman, June 14, 2013)