In the Matter of Honorable Mary E. Howes, District Court Judge of the Seventh Judicial District. on Application of the Iowa ( 2016 )


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  •                 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF IOWA
                                  No. 16–0005
    
                               Filed May 20, 2016
    
    
    IN THE MATTER OF HONORABLE MARY E. HOWES,
    District Court Judge of the Seventh Judicial District.
    
    
         On application of the Iowa Commission on Judicial Qualifications.
    
    
    
         The      Iowa   Commission    on   Judicial   Qualifications    filed   an
    
    application for judicial discipline recommending this court discipline a
    
    district court judge for various violations of the Iowa Code of Judicial
    
    Conduct.        APPLICATION       GRANTED      AND     JUDGE        PUBLICLY
    
    ADMONISHED.
    
    
    
         Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kevin Cmelik and Grant K.
    
    Dugdale, Assistant Attorneys General, for complainant.
    
    
    
         Gregory M. Lederer of Lederer Weston Craig PLC, Cedar Rapids, for
    
    respondent.
                                             2
    
    WIGGINS, Justice.
    
             The    Iowa   Commission   on       Judicial   Qualifications    filed   an
    
    application for discipline of a judicial officer recommending this court
    
    publicly reprimand a district court judge.          See Iowa Code § 602.2106
    
    (2015).        Because we conclude the judge violated the Iowa Code of
    
    Judicial Conduct, we grant the application for judicial discipline. Rather
    
    than publicly reprimand the judge, however, we publicly admonish the
    
    judge.
    
             I. Scope of Review.
    
             When the Iowa Commission on Judicial Qualifications files an
    
    application with our court to discipline a judicial officer, we conduct an
    
    equitable proceeding to review the application.               See In re Inquiry
    
    Concerning Stigler, 
    607 N.W.2d 699
    , 701 (Iowa 2000); see also Iowa Code
    
    § 602.2106(1).         We review findings and recommendations by the
    
    Commission concerning the discipline of a judicial officer de novo. In re
    
    Krull, 
    860 N.W.2d 38
    , 43 (Iowa 2015); see Iowa R. App. P. 6.907.
    
    Accordingly, we give respectful consideration to but are not bound by its
    
    recommendations and findings.        Krull, 860 N.W.2d at 43.            An ethical
    
    violation must be established by a convincing preponderance of the
    
    evidence.       In re Block, 
    816 N.W.2d 362
    , 364 (Iowa 2012); Stigler, 607
    
    N.W.2d at 705 (Iowa 2000).
    
             II. Factual Findings.
    
             On our de novo review, we find the facts as follows. The Honorable
    
    Mary E. Howes is a district court judge in the Seventh Judicial District of
    
    Iowa.     Judge Howes has not been disciplined in the past and has
    
    dedicated most of her professional career to public service.               Prior to
    
    1993, she served for seven years as an assistant county attorney in Scott
    
    County. From 1993 to 2000, she served as a magistrate in Scott County.
                                        3
    
    From 2000 to 2006, she served as a district associate judge in the
    
    seventh judicial district. She has served as a district court judge in the
    
    seventh judicial district since September 2006.
    
          Judge Howes petitioned for dissolution of her marriage to her
    
    husband, Jack Henderkott, in June 2011.           Maria Pauly represented
    
    Judge Howes in the dissolution action, and Chad Kepros of Bray &
    
    Klockau, P.L.C. represented Mr. Henderkott. The district court approved
    
    the parties’ settlement agreement and entered a dissolution decree
    
    incorporating that agreement in May 2012.
    
          On April 16, 2013, Mr. Henderkott sent Judge Howes an email
    
    indicating the Internal Revenue Service had deducted $3192 from his
    
    2012 income tax return because she did not claim income she received
    
    from liquidating an individual retirement account on the couple’s 2010
    
    joint income tax return.    Mr. Henderkott claimed he was entitled to
    
    reimbursement in the full amount of the deduction per the terms of the
    
    settlement agreement.
    
          On May 2, Judge Howes responded by letter to Mr. Henderkott and
    
    offered to reimburse half the amount deducted from his 2012 tax return
    
    because she and Mr. Henderkott had filed a joint income tax return in
    
    2010. Judge Howes’s letter stated she had discussed the issue with her
    
    attorney, whom she identified as Ms. Pauly. It also indicated she was
    
    mailing a copy of the letter to “Attorney Maria Pauly.”     Judge Howes
    
    enclosed two postdated checks for $798 each along with the letter.
    
          On May 17, Mr. Kepros sent a letter regarding the tax issue to
    
    Ms. Pauly. The letter advised Ms. Pauly that the settlement agreement
    
    incorporated into the dissolution decree obligated Judge Howes to
    
    reimburse the entire deduction. It also acknowledged the letter Judge
    
    Howes had sent to Mr. Henderkott.
                                         4
    
          Ms. Pauly delivered a copy of the letter she received from
    
    Mr. Kepros to Judge Howes, and the two spoke in person about it at the
    
    courthouse. Judge Howes advised Ms. Pauly she believed her payment
    
    of half the amount deducted from Mr. Henderkott’s tax return satisfied
    
    her obligations under the dissolution decree.
    
          Ms. Pauly responded to the letter from Mr. Kepros on behalf of
    
    Judge Howes on May 22.        In the letter, Ms. Pauly indicated she had
    
    spoken to Judge Howes, whom she referred to as her client. She also
    
    reiterated Judge Howes’s position that her payment of half the amount
    
    deducted from Mr. Henderkott’s 2012 tax return satisfied her obligations
    
    under the decree because she and Mr. Henderkott had filed a joint
    
    income tax return in 2010.     In closing, the letter stated, “If you need
    
    anything further, please contact me.”
    
          Mr. Henderkott eventually cashed the two checks Judge Howes
    
    had enclosed along with her response to his letter. After Ms. Pauly sent
    
    the   May   22   letter,   Judge   Howes   never   attempted   to   contact
    
    Mr. Henderkott to confirm the tax dispute had been resolved.        Rather,
    
    during the two months that followed, neither Judge Howes nor Ms. Pauly
    
    heard from either Mr. Henderkott or Mr. Kepros. On July 31, however,
    
    Mr. Kepros sent another letter to Ms. Pauly indicating Mr. Henderkott
    
    was prepared to file a contempt action if Judge Howes did not reimburse
    
    the remaining amount deducted from his 2012 tax return.
    
          On September 26, Daniel Bray, another attorney at Bray &
    
    Klockau, sent Ms. Pauly a letter informing her that he had taken over
    
    representation of Mr. Henderkott.          Thereafter, Ms. Pauly began
    
    corresponding with Mr. Bray about the tax dispute. However, Ms. Pauly
    
    did not immediately inform Judge Howes she had received the letter from
    
    Mr. Bray.
                                           5
    
          On October 15, Mr. Henderkott filed an application for a finding of
    
    contempt alleging Judge Howes’s failure to reimburse the full amount
    
    deducted from his 2012 tax return constituted a willful violation of the
    
    dissolution   decree   incorporating   the   settlement   agreement.    On
    
    October 22, before the hearing to show cause had been set on the
    
    application, Ms. Pauly sent Mr. Bray a letter stating Judge Howes would
    
    reimburse Mr. Henderkott the remaining amount withheld from his 2012
    
    tax return.    Consequently, Mr. Henderkott dismissed the contempt
    
    action.   Ms. Pauly provided her legal services to Judge Howes free of
    
    charge.
    
          During the lull in correspondence concerning the postdissolution
    
    tax dispute with her ex-husband, Judge Howes was involved in another
    
    dissolution dispute in her official capacity as a judge.      In that case,
    
    Ms. Pauly represented petitioner Farrakh Khawaja in seeking dissolution
    
    of his marriage to his wife, Shafaq Jadoon. The petition for dissolution of
    
    marriage Ms. Pauly filed on behalf of Mr. Khawaja indicated the couple
    
    had one child and requested the district court to grant joint legal custody
    
    to both parties and primary physical care to Ms. Jadoon with liberal
    
    visitation for Mr. Khawaja. With the consent of Mr. Khawaja, Ms. Jadoon
    
    resided in Pakistan, though the petition inaccurately stated that she
    
    resided in Oak Brook, Illinois.
    
          The child, who had been residing in Pakistan with Ms. Jadoon,
    
    stayed in the Quad Cities with Mr. Khawaja during the summer of 2013.
    
    During the visit, Mr. Khawaja came to believe that Ms. Jadoon was
    
    abusing the child and confronted her with his concerns.         Eventually,
    
    Mr. Khawaja asked Ms. Pauly to file an amended petition requesting the
    
    district court to award him primary physical care of the child, which she
    
    did on July 24.
                                         6
    
          On the same day Ms. Pauly filed the amended petition, Ms. Jadoon
    
    informed Mr. Khawaja that she was in the area and intended to retrieve
    
    the child and return to Pakistan.        Mr. Khawaja learned from the
    
    employees at the summer program the child was attending that they
    
    were obligated to release the child to Ms. Jadoon if she arrived there to
    
    pick him up.    Consequently, Ms. Pauly prepared an application for a
    
    temporary injunction and a supporting affidavit on behalf of Mr. Khawaja
    
    seeking to restrain Ms. Jadoon from removing the child to Pakistan. The
    
    application alleged Ms. Jadoon had assaulted the child and threatened to
    
    remove the child to Pakistan without Mr. Khawaja’s consent.
    
          The following morning, the Honorable Mark Cleve, another district
    
    court judge in the seventh judicial district, was the designated
    
    assignment judge. As the designated assignment judge, Judge Cleve was
    
    scheduled to hear unscheduled matters during two “order hours” from
    
    8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Between the order
    
    hours, Judge Cleve was scheduled to hear motions from 10:00 a.m. to
    
    noon in fifteen-minute intervals.
    
          By the time Ms. Pauly arrived at the courthouse on July 25 to
    
    present the application for a temporary injunction to a judge, the
    
    morning order hour was over and Judge Cleve was busy hearing
    
    scheduled motions. Because the judges at the Scott County Courthouse
    
    adhere to an open-door policy, Ms. Pauly proceeded to look for a different
    
    judge to grant the temporary injunction. She soon discovered that every
    
    judge in the courthouse that day had a full schedule, except for Judge
    
    Howes, who had unexpectedly become available when the case she was
    
    to hear that day had fallen off her schedule.
    
          Ms. Pauly told Judge Howes her client had an emergency and
    
    asked if she would be willing to consider the application for a temporary
                                             7
    
    injunction. Judge Howes then reviewed the application and signed an
    
    order temporarily enjoining both Ms. Jadoon and Mr. Khawaja from
    
    removing their child from the area for thirty days and temporarily
    
    enjoining Ms. Jadoon from removing the child from Mr. Khawaja.
    
          After Judge Howes granted the temporary injunction, Ms. Jadoon
    
    retained Lori Klockau and Daniel Bray of Bray & Klockau to represent
    
    her. Shortly after Ms. Klockau learned that Judge Howes had signed the
    
    order granting the temporary injunction against Ms. Jadoon, she learned
    
    from her secretary that another attorney at Bray & Klockau had recently
    
    written a letter to Ms. Pauly regarding the tax dispute between Judge
    
    Howes and Mr. Henderkott. Because Ms. Klockau knew the tax dispute
    
    was ongoing, she became concerned and shared her concerns with
    
    Ms. Jadoon, who became distraught upon hearing that the same lawyer
    
    who was representing her husband was representing the very judge who
    
    had signed the order granting the temporary injunction.
    
          On October 7, Ms. Klockau and Mr. Bray filed a complaint
    
    regarding      Judge   Howes    with   the   Iowa    Commission     on   Judicial
    
    Qualifications. On December 13, the Commission sent Judge Howes a
    
    letter notifying her it had received the complaint and asking her to
    
    provide   it    with   a   written   explanation    of   her   conduct   and   the
    
    circumstances that led her to sign the order granting the temporary
    
    injunction on July 25. The letter noted the Commission was especially
    
    interested to learn whether Ms. Pauly was in fact representing Judge
    
    Howes in her postdissolution tax dispute on the date Judge Howes
    
    signed the order.
    
          On January 6, 2014, Judge Howes responded by letter to the
    
    Commission. In the letter, Judge Howes acknowledged Ms. Pauly had
    
    represented her in her dissolution action and noted she had advised
                                        8
    
    court administrative staff that Ms. Pauly could not appear before her
    
    while her dissolution was ongoing. She also informed the Commission
    
    she had not decided any matter in which Ms. Pauly represented a party
    
    for approximately one year following entry of the dissolution decree.
    
          With respect to the question of whether Ms. Pauly represented her
    
    on July 25, Judge Howes advised the Commission she had not contacted
    
    or hired Ms. Pauly upon being asked to reimburse the funds withheld
    
    from Mr. Henderkott’s tax return in April 2013. Rather, she indicated
    
    Ms. Pauly had called her in May 2013 upon receiving the letter from
    
    Mr. Kepros and she had informed Ms. Pauly the matter was resolved
    
    because she had already reimbursed half the withheld funds.            Judge
    
    Howes asserted that after Ms. Pauly had informed Mr. Kepros to this
    
    effect, both she and Ms. Pauly had considered the matter to be resolved,
    
    as neither heard anything more about it.
    
          Judge Howes asserted she had reasonably believed Ms. Pauly was
    
    not representing her in any dispute when she signed the order granting
    
    the temporary injunction on July 25, as she had not believed she had an
    
    unresolved dispute with Mr. Henderkott on that date. Moreover, Judge
    
    Howes assured the Commission she would not have signed the order if
    
    she had believed Ms. Pauly represented her at that time. Though she
    
    forthrightly   acknowledged   another   attorney,   Dennis   Jasper,    had
    
    appeared before her in the past despite having previously represented
    
    her in another matter, she indicated she now realized that out of an
    
    abundance of caution, Ms. Pauly should not appear before her in the
    
    future.   In closing, Judge Howes acknowledged the importance of
    
    impartiality and stated she would never intentionally violate any ethical
    
    rule or create an appearance of impropriety.
                                            9
    
          On January 15, Judge Howes sent a second letter to the
    
    Commission to correct a typographical error appearing in her January 6
    
    letter. 1 In that letter, Judge Howes did not address the substance of the
    
    complaint against her or the circumstances that led her to sign the order
    
    granting the temporary injunction.
    
          On September 25, the Commission issued a notice informing
    
    Judge Howes it had charged her with violating rules 51:1.2 and
    
    51:2.11(A) of the Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct because she failed to
    
    disqualify herself from a judicial proceeding involving Ms. Pauly.
    
          On March 30, 2015, the Commission issued a second notice
    
    informing Judge Howes it had charged her with additional violations of
    
    the Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct. The notice stated the Commission
    
    had charged Judge Howes with violations of rules 51:1.1, 51:1.2, and
    
    51:2.16(A)     because statements in        her   letter   to   the Commission
    
    contradicted statements in her correspondence with Mr. Henderkott.
    
    The notice further stated the Commission had charged Judge Howes with
    
    violations of rules 51:1.1, 51:1.2, and 51:3.13(A) because she accepted
    
    free legal services from Ms. Pauly and Mr. Jasper.
    
          During a hearing before the Commission, Judge Howes and
    
    Ms. Pauly acknowledged they had an attorney–client relationship when
    
    Ms. Pauly sent the May 22 letter.           But Judge Howes and Ms. Pauly
    
    testified they had not believed the tax dispute was ongoing on July 25
    
    when Judge Howes signed the order granting the temporary injunction.
    
    In addition, Judge Howes testified that both Ms. Pauly and Mr. Jasper
    
    refused her offers for payment for their legal services, but she
    
          1Judge    Howes’s first letter to the Commission mistakenly indicated she had
    served as an associate district judge from 1994 to 2000. She actually served as an
    associate district judge from 1993 to 2000.
                                         10
    
    acknowledged she accepted their services without entering into fee
    
    agreements in advance.      Ms. Pauly confirmed she refused to accept
    
    payment for her services from Judge Howes, but she noted that Judge
    
    Howes paid the filing fee associated with filing her dissolution petition.
    
          Following the hearing, the Commission filed an application for
    
    discipline of Judge Howes with this court. See Iowa Code § 602.2106. In
    
    the application, the Commission concluded Judge Howes violated rules
    
    51:1.1, 51:1.2, and 51:2.11(A) as well as canons 1 and 2 of the Iowa
    
    Code of Judicial Conduct when she failed to disqualify herself from
    
    deciding whether to grant the temporary injunction.        The Commission
    
    also concluded Judge Howes violated rules 51:1.1, 51:1.2, and 51:3.13(A)
    
    as well as canons 1 and 3 of the Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct when she
    
    accepted gifts of free legal services from Ms. Pauly and Mr. Jasper.
    
    However, the Commission concluded Judge Howes did not violate rules
    
    51:1.1, 51:1.2, or 51:2.16(A) by failing to be candid and honest in her
    
    letter of explanation regarding the circumstances that led her to sign the
    
    order granting the temporary injunction. The Commission recommended
    
    this court publicly reprimand Judge Howes for her conduct.
    
          III. Discussion and Analysis.
    
          The Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct contains four canons, each of
    
    which states “overarching principles of judicial ethics that all judges
    
    must observe.”    Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct, Scope [2].        Following
    
    each canon is a series of rules that more specifically defines the conduct
    
    the   canon   prohibits.    Block,   816 N.W.2d     at   364.    Comments
    
    accompanying those rules serve two important purposes. Iowa Code of
    
    Judicial Conduct, Scope [3]. “First, they provide guidance regarding the
    
    purpose, meaning, and proper application of the rules,” including
    
    explanatory examples of permitted and prohibited conduct. Id. Second,
                                        11
    
    they “identify aspirational goals for judges.”    Id. at [4].    “Comments
    
    neither add to nor subtract from the binding obligations set forth in the
    
    rules.” Id. at [3].
    
          The Commission charged Judge Howes with violating rules
    
    contained in canons 1, 2, and 3 of the Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct,
    
    including rules 51:1.1, 51:1.2, 51:2.11(A), 51:2.16(A), and 51:3.13(A).
    
    We will consider each charged violation separately.
    
          A.    Rule 51:2.11(A) and Canon 2.       We first consider whether
    
    Judge Howes violated rule 51:2.11(A) and canon 2 of the Iowa Code of
    
    Judicial Conduct by failing to disqualify herself from deciding a matter in
    
    which Ms. Pauly represented a party.
    
          1. Governing legal principles. Canon 2 of the Iowa Code of Judicial
    
    Conduct provides that “a judge shall perform the duties of judicial office
    
    impartially, competently, and diligently.”   Id., Canon 2.      Rule 51:2.11
    
    governs circumstances under which canon 2 requires a judge to recuse
    
    himself or herself from a judicial proceeding.        In relevant part, it
    
    provides,
    
                (A) A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in any
          proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably
          be questioned, including but not limited to the following
          circumstances:
    
                (1) The judge has a personal bias or prejudice
          concerning a party or a party’s lawyer . . . .
    
                 ....
    
                 (C) A judge subject to disqualification under this rule,
          other than for bias or prejudice under paragraph (A)(1), may
          disclose on the record the basis of the judge’s
          disqualification and may ask the parties and their lawyers to
          consider, outside the presence of the judge and court
          personnel, whether to waive disqualification. If, following the
          disclosure, the parties and lawyers agree, without
          participation by the judge or court personnel, that the judge
                                             12
          should not be disqualified, the judge may participate in the
          proceeding . . . .
    
    Id. r. 51:2.11 (emphasis added).         The Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct
    
    defines “impartiality” as the “absence of bias or prejudice in favor of, or
    
    against, particular parties . . . as well as maintenance of an open mind in
    
    considering issues.” Id., Terminology.
    
          Under    rule   51:2.11(A),    judicial   disqualification   is   ordinarily
    
    mandatory, rather than discretionary, when the impartiality of a judge
    
    might reasonably be questioned if he or she were to decide a particular
    
    matter. The rule’s mandatory nature is clear from its language, which
    
    provides a judge “shall disqualify himself or herself” from deciding a
    
    matter whenever his or her impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
    
    Id. r. 51:2.11(A); see, e.g., State v. Luckett, 
    387 N.W.2d 298
    , 301 (Iowa
    
    1986).    The mandatory nature of the rule is also evident from its
    
    structure, as the rule includes an expressly nonexclusive list of
    
    circumstances in which a judge’s impartiality might reasonably be
    
    questioned.    See Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct R. 51:2.11(A).                  A
    
    comment clarifies that the “obligation not to hear or decide matters in
    
    which disqualification is required applies regardless of whether a motion
    
    to disqualify is filed.” Id. r. 51:2.11 cmt. 2.
    
          However,    a   comment       to   rule   51:2.11   encourages     a   judge
    
    contemplating whether the rule mandates recusal because his or her
    
    impartiality might reasonably be questioned to “disclose on the record
    
    information that the judge believes the parties or their lawyers might
    
    reasonably consider relevant to a possible motion for disqualification,
    
    even if the judge believes there is no basis for disqualification.”          Id. r.
    
    51:2.11 cmt. 5. When a judge makes such disclosures and the parties
    
    waive disqualification, the judge may proceed to hear the matter
                                             13
    
    regardless of whether a basis for disqualification actually existed, unless
    
    the basis for disqualification was “personal bias or prejudice concerning
    
    a party or a party’s lawyer, or personal knowledge of facts that are in
    
    dispute in the proceeding.”         Id. r. 51:2.11(A)(1), (C).     Accordingly, in
    
    practice rule 51:2.11 does not require a judge to determine whether
    
    disqualification is actually required because his or her impartiality might
    
    reasonably be questioned so long as the judge discloses any possible
    
    basis for disqualification to the parties before hearing a matter and
    
    obtains their consent to proceed. 2
    
           Another comment to rule 51:2.11 provides that necessity may
    
    override the disqualification requirement under limited circumstances.
    
    Id. r. 51:2.11 cmt. 3. More specifically, it provides,
    
                  The rule of necessity may override the rule of
           disqualification. For example, a judge might be required to
           participate in judicial review of a judicial salary statute, or
           might be the only judge available in a matter requiring
           immediate judicial action, such as a hearing on probable
           cause or a temporary restraining order. In matters that
           require immediate action, the judge must disclose on the
           record the basis for possible disqualification and make
           reasonable efforts to transfer the matter to another judge as
           soon as practicable.
    
    Id. As contemplated in this comment, the “rule of necessity” eliminates
    
    the disqualification requirement if no judge lacking the same basis for
    
    disqualification exists or if a matter requires immediate action and no
    
    judge lacking some basis for disqualification is available.
    
           Although disqualification is generally mandatory under rule
    
    51:2.11(A)(1) when a judge has a personal bias or prejudice in favor of, or
    
    against, a party or a party’s lawyer, rule 51:2.11 does not presume actual
    
           2When a party does not agree to waive disqualification and moves for
    
    disqualification, however, the judge must decide whether disqualification is required.
                                         14
    
    personal bias or prejudice on the part of a judge merely because a party’s
    
    lawyer currently represents or previously represented the judge in an
    
    unrelated matter.      Rather, disqualification is required based on an
    
    existing or former attorney–client relationship between the judge and a
    
    party’s lawyer only when “the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be
    
    questioned” due to that relationship. See id. r. 51:2.11(A).
    
             The standard for determining whether judicial recusal is required
    
    under rule 51:2.11(A) because “the judge’s impartiality might reasonably
    
    be questioned” is objective, not subjective. State v. Mann, 
    512 N.W.2d 528
    , 532 (Iowa 1994) (addressing nearly identical language in the prior
    
    version of rule 51:2.11). In other words, the test is not whether the judge
    
    actually questions his or her own impartiality, “but whether a reasonable
    
    person would question it.” Krull, 860 N.W.2d at 44 (quoting Mann, 512
    
    N.W.2d at 532). Proving scienter is not necessary to establish a violation
    
    of the rule. Mann, 512 N.W.2d at 532. Rather, the appropriate inquiry is
    
    whether a reasonable person with knowledge of all the facts might have a
    
    reasonable basis for questioning the judge’s impartiality such that the
    
    judge deciding a matter would create an appearance of impropriety. See
    
    id.
    
             In considering whether a judge has violated rule 51:2.11(A),
    
    “drawing all inferences favorable to the honesty and care of the judge
    
    whose conduct has been questioned could collapse the appearance of
    
    impropriety standard . . . into a demand for proof of actual impropriety.”
    
    Rosado v. Bridgeport Roman Catholic Diocesan Corp., 
    970 A.2d 656
    , 669
    
    (Conn. 2009) (quoting United States v. Jordan, 
    49 F.3d 152
    , 157 (5th Cir.
    
    1995)) (describing the appropriate standard under a nearly identical
    
    rule).    Recusal is required under rule 51:2.11(A) when a reasonable
    
    person might reasonably doubt the judge’s impartiality because the rule
                                            15
    
    anticipates “that people who have not served on the bench are often all
    
    too willing to indulge suspicions and doubts concerning the integrity of
    
    judges.”    Mann, 512 N.W.2d at 532 (quoting Liljeberg v. Health Servs.
    
    Acquisition Corp., 
    486 U.S. 847
    , 864–65, 
    108 S. Ct. 2194
    , 2205, 
    100 L. Ed. 2d 855
    , 875 (1988)). Thus, rule 51:2.11(A) operates “to promote
    
    public confidence in the integrity of the judicial process.” Id. at 533.
    
          There can be no serious doubt a reasonable person who knows an
    
    attorney appearing before a judge currently represents the judge in a
    
    personal matter would have a reasonable basis for questioning the
    
    judge’s impartiality. 3 See, e.g., Berry v. Berry, 
    765 So. 2d 855
    , 858 (Fla.
    
    Dist. Ct. App. 2000).      “If the attorney in this instance represents the
    
    judge in a pending action, the other party may question the judge’s
    
    impartiality, even if the resolution of the case appears fair to the public
    
    in general.” Charles Gardener Geyh, et al., Judicial Conduct and Ethics
    
    § 4.14[3], at 4-60 (5th ed. 2013).
    
          Nonetheless, “if an attorney appearing before the judge represented
    
    the judge only in the past, the concerns about partiality are not so
    
    acute.” Id. at 4-61. Thus, the question of whether a reasonable person
    
    might perceive a reasonable basis for questioning a judge’s impartiality
    becomes a closer one when an attorney appearing before the judge
    
    represented the judge only in the past.
    
          Like the Model Code of Judicial Conduct, the Iowa Code of Judicial
    
    Conduct prescribes no specific time period during which a judge must
    
    disqualify himself or herself from deciding a matter based solely on his or
    
          3In  this case, Judge Howes decided a matter in which a party was represented
    by an attorney who currently or previously represented her in a personal matter. We
    need not decide whether or under what circumstances disqualification is required
    under rule 51:2.11(A) based on an attorney’s representation of a judge in a matter
    concerning the judge’s official acts.
                                        16
    
    her former attorney–client relationship with an attorney who presently
    
    represents a party appearing before the judge in an unrelated matter.
    
    Compare Model Code of Judicial Conduct R. 2.11(A) (Am. Bar Ass’n
    
    2011), with Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct R. 51:2.11(A). Nor do existing
    
    authorities discussing the circumstances in which a judge must
    
    disqualify himself or herself based on the judge’s former representation
    
    by a party’s attorney reveal a clear consensus. See Powell v. Anderson,
    
    
    660 N.W.2d 107
    , 117 & n.8 (Minn. 2003). Courts generally agree that
    
    once significant time has passed since the conclusion of a former
    
    attorney–client relationship between a judge and a party’s attorney, any
    
    appearance of bias or impropriety arising therefrom is insufficient to
    
    warrant disqualification. See, e.g., Noland v. Noland, 
    932 S.W.2d 341
    ,
    
    342–43 (Ark. 1996) (three years); In re Disqualification of Park, 
    28 N.E.3d 56
    , 58 (Ohio 2014) (sixteen years); Young v. Young, 
    971 S.W.2d 386
    , 390
    
    (Tenn. Ct. App. 1997) (ten years). In contrast, most courts and judicial
    
    ethics commissions to consider the disqualification issue in the context
    
    of a judge’s recent representation by a party’s attorney appear to have
    
    adopted one of two approaches to determining whether a reasonable
    
    person would conclude the prior representation might constitute a
    
    reasonable basis for questioning the judge’s impartiality.
    
          Under the first approach, the question of whether judicial
    
    disqualification is required based on a former attorney–client relationship
    
    between a judge and an attorney representing a party in an unrelated
    
    matter turns primarily on how much time has passed since the
    
    relationship ended.     Among commissions adopting this approach,
    
    however, disagreement exists as to how much time must pass before a
    
    former attorney–client relationship no longer constitutes a reasonable
    
    basis for questioning the judge’s impartiality.   See, e.g., N.Y. Advisory
                                            17
    
    Comm.      on   Judicial   Ethics,   Joint   Op.    08-171/08-174   (2009),
    
    www.nycourts.gov/ip/judicialethics/opinions/08-171and%2008-
    
    174.htm (two years); Utah Judicial Conduct Comm., Joint Op. 00-4
    
    (2000),    www.utcourts.gov/resources/ethadv/ethics_opinions/2000/00-
    
    4.htm (six months). Moreover, some commissions endorse a variant of
    
    this approach whereby a judge must consider whether the circumstances
    
    make continued disqualification appropriate after the requisite time
    
    during which disqualification is required has passed.       See, e.g., Colo.
    
    Judicial    Ethics    Advisory   Bd.,    Advisory   Op.   2006-05   (2006),
    
    www.courts.state.co.us/userfiles/File/Court_Probation/Supreme_Court/
    
    Committees/Judicial_Ethics_Advisory_Board/opinion2006-05_1.pdf (one
    
    year unless circumstances such as the length, nature, extent, cost, and
    
    recency    of   the   representation     make   continued   disqualification
    
    appropriate); N.C. Judicial Standards Comm’n, Formal Op. 2011-02
    
    (2011),    www.aoc.state.nc.us/www/public/coa/jsc/formaladvisoryopini
    
    ons/11-02.pdf (six months unless circumstances such as the length,
    
    nature, extent, cost, and recency of the representation make continued
    
    disqualification appropriate).
    
          Under a second approach recently adopted by the supreme courts
    
    of Minnesota and Mississippi, a reviewing court should generally weigh
    
    four factors to determine whether a former attorney–client relationship
    
    between a judge and an attorney requires the judge to disqualify himself
    
    or herself. Powell, 660 N.W.2d at 118; Washington Mut. Fin. Grp., LLC v.
    
    Blackmon, 
    925 So. 2d 780
    , 791 (Miss. 2004). Under this approach, a
    
    reviewing court should determine whether recusal was required by
    
    considering (1) the extent of the attorney–client relationship; (2) the
    
    nature of the representation; (3) the frequency, volume, and quality of
    
    the contacts between the judge and the attorney; and (4) special
                                         18
    
    circumstances that might enhance or diminish the likelihood that the
    
    judge deciding a matter in which a party is represented by the attorney
    
    might reasonably create an appearance of impropriety from the
    
    perspective of the public. Powell, 660 N.W.2d at 118; Blackmon, 
    925 So. 2d
     at 791.
    
          Similarly, the American Bar Association Standing Committee on
    
    Ethics and Professional Responsibility advises that several factors
    
    influence whether judicial disqualification is required based on an
    
    attorney’s former representation of a judge because “a reasonable person
    
    would believe, in light of the time that had elapsed, that the judge’s
    
    fairness and impartiality could still be questioned.”      ABA Comm. on
    
    Ethics & Prof’l Responsibility, Formal Op. 07-449 (2007). According to
    
    the committee, these factors include (1) whether the matter was
    
    consequential or relatively inconsequential; (2) the size of the fee the
    
    judge paid to the attorney; (3) whether the representation concerned an
    
    isolated matter or several matters over time; and (4) whether the
    
    representation concerned a matter that was highly confidential or highly
    
    publicized. Id.
    
          In 1989, the Iowa Supreme Court Board of Professional Ethics and
    
    Conduct addressed this issue in an advisory opinion intended for the
    
    benefit of practicing attorneys within the state. See Iowa Supreme Ct.
    
    Bd. of Prof’l Ethics & Conduct, Op. 90-47 (1991). The opinion advised an
    
    attorney may not properly appear before a judge for a period of one year
    
    following the performance of “actual legal activities” on the judge’s behalf
    
    by the attorney or the attorney’s firm. Id.
    
          Nevertheless,   this   court   has   never   determined   the   precise
    
    circumstances under which rule 51:2.11(A) requires a judge to disqualify
    
    himself or herself in a matter in which an attorney with whom the judge
                                              19
    
    once had an attorney–client relationship represents a party.                        We
    
    conclude that we need not do so today. Under our existing precedents
    
    interpreting the language in rule 51:2.11(A), it is clear that a judge who
    
    fails to disqualify himself or herself from a proceeding in which an
    
    attorney who recently represented the judge in a personal matter
    
    represents a party violates rule 51:2.11(A) unless the judge complies with
    
    rule 51:2.11(C) by disclosing the relevant facts to and obtaining a
    
    disqualification waiver from both parties in advance. 4                 See Bride v.
    
    Heckart, 
    556 N.W.2d 449
    , 455 (Iowa 1996) (relying on a prior
    
    interpretation of the language in the prior version of rule 51:2.11(A));
    
    Forsmark v. State, 
    349 N.W.2d 763
    , 767–69 (Iowa 1984) (interpreting
    
    language in the prior version of rule 51:2.11(A)). Indeed, we have long
    
    expected trial judges to follow the procedures contained in rule
    
    51:2.11(C) and comment 5 before deciding a matter when a possible
    
    basis for recusal exists in order to permit the parties to determine
    
    whether to request disqualification.
    
           In Forsmark, we considered an appeal from a district court
    
    judgment denying a motion to vacate a judgment in a medical-negligence
    
    action. 5 349 N.W.2d at 765. The plaintiffs had filed the motion to vacate
    the judgment upon discovering the estate of the trial judge’s brother had
    
    a pending wrongful-death action against the plaintiffs’ chief medical
    
    witness. Id. The trial judge found in the defendant’s favor without ever
    
    
           4Of course, trial judges frequently recuse themselves from proceedings without
    notifying the parties of their basis for doing so upon being designated by court
    administration to hear a case.
           5Although  not relevant for purposes of our analysis, we note the trial judge who
    failed to disclose the possible basis for his disqualification during the trial recused
    himself from deciding the motion to vacate the judgment. Forsmark, 349 N.W.2d at
    765.
                                         20
    
    disclosing this fact to the plaintiffs. Id. The plaintiffs asserted the trial
    
    judge’s failure to recuse himself constituted an irregularity in the
    
    obtaining of the judgment that amounted to a basis for vacating it under
    
    our rules of civil procedure. Id.
    
          We determined it was neither practical nor necessary to determine
    
    whether the trial judge was required to recuse himself in order to decide
    
    the appeal. Id. at 768. In doing so, we reasoned,
    
          No meaningful way existed after trial to reconstruct how the
          issue would have been resolved before trial. The judge failed
          before trial to disclose facts creating a substantial and
          serious issue concerning his duty to disqualify himself. As a
          result plaintiffs were denied an opportunity to raise the issue
          or be heard on it.
    
    Id. Accordingly, the precise question before us was not whether recusal
    
    was in fact required, though we acknowledged the judge “should have
    
    known that a party in plaintiffs’ position might question his impartiality.”
    
    Id.
          Ultimately, we concluded the trial judge’s failure to disclose the
    
    possible basis for disqualification constituted an irregularity in obtaining
    
    the judgment within the meaning of our rules of civil procedure because
    
    it denied plaintiffs the opportunity to raise or be heard on the potential
    
    basis for disqualification.    Id. at 767–68.     Accordingly, because we
    
    determined the plaintiffs presented sufficient evidence to generate an
    
    issue for the trier of fact, we vacated the district court order denying their
    
    motion to vacate the judgment. Id. at 768–69.
    
          Years later, in Bride, we considered another appeal based on a trial
    
    judge’s failure to disclose a basis for disqualification to the parties
    
    appearing before him. 556 N.W.2d at 455. Specifically, the trial judge
    
    had failed to disclose that less than two years prior to the start of the
                                          21
    
    trial he was represented by the same law firm that represented a party
    
    appearing before him. Id. Relying on language in the prior version of
    
    rule 51:2.11(A) nearly identical to that appearing in the current version
    
    of the rule, we concluded the trial judge’s failure to disclose the basis for
    
    disqualification was error. Id. In doing so, we reasoned the trial judge’s
    
    mere nondisclosure constituted error because it deprived the party before
    
    him an opportunity to make a timely request for disqualification.           Id.
    
    Thus, based in part on the trial judge’s failure to disclose his former
    
    attorney–client relationship with a party’s attorney, we reversed a district
    
    court decision denying a motion to vacate the judgment. Id.
    
          Neither of these cases required us to decide whether judicial
    
    discipline was appropriate. See Bride, 556 N.W.2d at 455 (appeal based
    
    on a trial judge’s failure to disclose a possible basis for disqualification);
    
    Forsmark, 349 N.W.2d at 767–69 (appeal based on a trial judge’s failure
    
    to disqualify himself).    Yet, in Bride, we implicitly acknowledged a
    
    reasonable person might question the impartiality of a judge who
    
    presides over a proceeding in which an attorney who recently represented
    
    the judge in a personal matter appears without disclosing that fact to the
    
    parties. See Bride, 556 N.W.2d at 455 (“The judge should have known
    
    that, based on his recent, prior representation by defense counsel’s law
    
    firm, a party in plaintiff's position might question his impartiality.”).
    
          When a basis for disqualification exists because a reasonable
    
    person knowing all the facts might reasonably question a trial judge’s
    
    impartiality, the judge must either disqualify himself or herself pursuant
    
    to rule 51:2.11(A) or disclose the relevant facts and obtain a waiver of the
                                              22
    
    disqualification requirement from the parties under rule 51:2.11(C). 6 If
    
    the judge wishes to hear a matter despite the existence of a possible
    
    basis for disqualification, the judge should “disclose on the record
    
    information that the judge believes the parties or their lawyers might
    
    reasonably consider relevant to a possible motion for disqualification” in
    
    order to assure the parties have an opportunity to raise and be heard on
    
    the potential basis for disqualification. Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct R.
    
    51:2.11(C) & cmt. 5; see Bride, 556 N.W.2d at 455; Forsmark, 349
    
    N.W.2d at 767–68.            When it is debatable whether a basis for
    
    disqualification actually exists, the best practice is for the judge to
    
    disclose all the relevant facts to the parties “even if the judge believes
    
    there is no basis for disqualification.” Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct R.
    
    51:2.11 cmt. 5. If the parties thereafter waive disqualification, the judge
    
    may then decide the matter. Id. r. 51:2.11(C).
    
    
    
           6We   note the section of the Iowa Code addressing the circumstances under
    which a judicial officer is disqualified also emphasizes the importance of disclosure in
    this context. In relevant part, the Code provides,
                  1. A judicial officer is disqualified from acting in a proceeding,
           except upon the consent of all of the parties, if any of the following
           circumstances exists:
                  a. The judicial officer has a personal bias or prejudice concerning
           a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning
           the proceeding.
                  ....
                  2. A judicial officer shall disclose to all parties in a proceeding
           any existing circumstances in subsection 1, paragraphs “a” through “d”,
           before the parties consent to the judicial officer’s presiding in the
           proceeding.
    Iowa Code § 602.1606(1)(a), (2). Unlike rule 51:2.11(A) of the Iowa Code of Judicial
    Conduct, Iowa Code section 602.1606(1) does not mandate judicial disqualification
    merely because a judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned. Rather, section
    602.1606(1) provides an exclusive list of circumstances under which disqualification or
    disclosure and waiver is required. See Iowa Code § 602.1606(1).
                                       23
    
          2. Application of legal principles. Notably, Judge Howes recognized
    
    she could not preside over any matter in which an attorney who was
    
    currently representing her represented a party.       Judge Howes and
    
    Ms. Pauly testified that no attorney–client relationship existed between
    
    them on July 25 when Judge Howes signed the order granting the
    
    temporary injunction Ms. Pauly sought on behalf of Mr. Khawaja.
    
          Despite this testimony, the Commission concluded Judge Howes
    
    was obligated to disqualify herself from any case in which Ms. Pauly was
    
    representing a party when she signed the order even if Ms. Pauly was not
    
    currently representing her. More precisely, the Commission determined
    
    that under either approach described above, Judge Howes was obligated
    
    to disqualify herself from deciding whether to grant the temporary
    
    injunction because Judge Howes and Ms. Pauly admitted they had an
    
    attorney–client relationship in May 2013.
    
          “Generally, in a civil action, once the period for motions and
    
    appeals expires, the lawyer’s representation of his or her client ends.”
    
    Iowa Supreme Ct. Att’y Disciplinary Bd. v. Marks, 
    814 N.W.2d 532
    , 538
    
    (Iowa 2012); see 16 Gregory C. Sisk & Mark S. Cady, Iowa Practice
    
    Series: Lawyer and Judicial Ethics § 5:3(e), at 181 (2015) (“If the lawyer
    
    has been retained to represent the client with respect to a specific
    
    matter, the attorney–client relationship ends with the completion of legal
    
    services for that matter, and the lawyer has no ongoing responsibility to
    
    address other legal concerns of the client.”). Accordingly, we recognize
    
    Judge Howes and Ms. Pauly did not have an ongoing attorney–client
    
    relationship extending from the entry of the dissolution decree in May
    
    2012 to the date in May 2013 on which Ms. Pauly sent the letter to
    
    Mr. Kepros.
                                          24
    
          Nonetheless, Judge Howes does not dispute that Ms. Pauly
    
    represented her in two highly confidential personal matters within the
    
    two years preceding the date on which she signed the ex parte order
    
    granting the temporary injunction that Ms. Pauly sought on behalf of her
    
    client. Nor does Judge Howes dispute that she and Ms. Pauly shared an
    
    attorney–client relationship when Ms. Pauly sent the letter to Mr. Kepros
    
    on   her   behalf   just   two   months    before   she   signed   that   order.
    
    Furthermore, Judge Howes does not deny that she did not pay for the
    
    legal services Ms. Pauly provided.
    
          Given these facts, we agree with the Commission that it is
    
    unnecessary to decide the precise standard that governs determinations
    
    as to whether disqualification is required under rule 51:2.11(A) based on
    
    a former attorney–client relationship between a judge and an attorney
    
    appearing before the judge in this case.            Instead, we conclude a
    
    reasonable person with knowledge of all the facts on July 25 might have
    
    had a reasonable basis for questioning Judge Howes’s impartiality when
    
    she signed the ex parte order even if Judge Howes did not have an
    
    ongoing attorney–client relationship with Ms. Pauly on that date. 7 See
    
    Bride, 556 N.W.2d at 455; see also Mann, 512 N.W.2d at 532. When an
    attorney who contemporaneously represents or recently represented a
    
    judge in a personal matter appears before the judge in another case and
    
    the judge does not disclose that fact to the parties, the judge’s
    
    impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
    
          Accordingly, unless Judge Howes disclosed all the facts relevant to
    
    her representation by Ms. Pauly to the parties and obtained a waiver of
    
          7Under  these facts and our caselaw, we find it unnecessary to determine
    whether the attorney–client relationship Judge Howes and Ms. Pauly shared in May
    2013 was ongoing when Judge Howes signed the ex parte order.
                                        25
    
    the disqualification requirement under rule 51:2.11(C), she was required
    
    to disqualify herself from deciding whether to grant the application for a
    
    temporary injunction under rule 51:2.11(A) so long as the rule of
    
    necessity did not apply. Under our caselaw interpreting the language of
    
    rule 51:2.11, Judge Howes was required to disclose to the parties every
    
    relevant fact concerning her representation by Ms. Pauly before signing
    
    the order, including the fact that she did not pay for the legal services
    
    Ms. Pauly provided, in order to assure the parties received an
    
    opportunity to file and be heard on a motion seeking her disqualification
    
    unless she actually disqualified herself. See Bride, 556 N.W.2d at 455;
    
    see also Forsmark, 349 N.W.2d at 768–69.
    
          Thus, because Judge Howes signed the order granting the
    
    temporary injunction ex parte, we agree with the Commission that her
    
    inability to disclose the facts concerning her representation by Ms. Pauly
    
    to Ms. Jadoon or Ms. Jadoon’s counsel obligated her to recuse herself
    
    unless the rule of necessity excused her from the sua sponte
    
    disqualification requirement.
    
          3. Governing legal principles concerning the rule of necessity. The
    
    rule of necessity constitutes an exception to the general rule obligating a
    
    judge to disqualify himself or herself from any judicial proceeding in
    
    which his or her impartiality might reasonably be questioned. Iowa Code
    
    of Judicial Conduct R. 51:2.11 cmt. 3. Because the disqualification rule
    
    rests on sound public policy, the rule of necessity is strictly construed.
    
    State ex rel. Brown v. Dietrick, 
    444 S.E.2d 47
    , 55 (W. Va. 1994). Thus,
    
    although necessity may afford a judge who would otherwise be
    
    disqualified the power to hear a case, necessity extends such power only
    
    when the occasion truly requires.
                                          26
    
          Although the rule of necessity has its genesis in the common law,
    
    state and federal courts alike recognize its continued vitality in modern
    
    times. United States v. Will, 
    449 U.S. 200
    , 213, 
    101 S. Ct. 471
    , 480, 
    66 L. Ed. 2d 392
    , 405 (1980). The common law tradition has “long regarded
    
    the absence of an appropriate forum in which to resolve a legitimate case
    
    to be intolerable.” Bd. of Trs. of Pub. Emps’ Ret. Fund v. Hill, 
    472 N.E.2d 204
    , 206 (Ind. 1985). The rule of necessity thus reflects the longstanding
    
    principle that to deny an individual access to courts for the vindication of
    
    his or her rights constitutes a far more egregious wrong than to permit a
    
    judge to hear a matter in which he or she has some interest.              See
    
    Weinstock v. Holden, 
    995 S.W.2d 408
    , 410 (Mo. 1999) (en banc) (per
    
    curiam).
    
          When the matter to be decided affects the interests of every judge
    
    qualified to hear it, the rule of necessity clearly applies “without resort to
    
    further factual development.” State ex rel. Hash v. McGraw, 
    376 S.E.2d 634
    , 639 (W. Va. 1988) (McGraw, J., noting his disqualification).         The
    
    theory on which the rule rests when such circumstances arise is that
    
    “where all are disqualified, none are disqualified.” Ignacio v. Judges of
    
    U.S. Ct. of Appeals for Ninth Circuit, 
    453 F.3d 1160
    , 1165 (9th Cir. 2006)
    
    (quoting Pilla v. Am. Bar Ass’n., 
    542 F.2d 56
    , 59 (8th Cir. 1976)). Courts
    
    ordinarily invoke the rule of the necessity in such circumstances because
    
    disqualifying every judge with an interest in the matter to be decided
    
    would leave the parties with no court in which to resolve a dispute. See,
    
    e.g., id. (applying the rule because a litigant sued all the judges in a
    
    federal circuit); Hill, 472 N.E.2d at 206 (applying the rule to consider a
    
    challenge to a statutory amendment affecting judicial retirement
    
    benefits); Weinstock, 995 S.W.2d at 410 (applying the rule to consider a
    
    resolution affecting judicial pay).   Similarly, the rule of necessity has
                                        27
    
    been invoked to prevent an attorney who represented every judge within
    
    a jurisdiction from having no court in which to practice. See Reilly by
    
    Reilly v. Se. Pa. Transp. Auth., 
    489 A.2d 1291
    , 1295 (Pa. 1985).
    
          The rule of necessity contemplated in comment 3 to rule 51:2.11(A)
    
    is broader than the common law rule in that it may also override the
    
    disqualification obligation of a judge who is “the only judge available in a
    
    matter requiring immediate judicial action” when certain conditions are
    
    met. Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct R. 51:2.11(A) cmt. 3. Nonetheless,
    
    the rule of necessity applies on this basis only when (1) the matter to be
    
    decided requires “immediate judicial action,” (2) the judge is “the only
    
    judge available” to decide it, (3) the judge “disclose[s] on the record the
    
    basis for possible disqualification,” and (4) the judge makes “reasonable
    
    efforts to transfer the matter to another judge as soon as practicable.”
    
    Id.
    
          A judge has an affirmative obligation to assure deciding a matter is
    
    in fact necessary before relying on the rule of necessity to excuse a duty
    
    of disqualification based on the unavailability of another judge.          To
    
    establish necessity excused a disqualification requirement, a judge must
    
    show he or she made reasonable efforts to transfer the particular matter
    
    to which it applied to another judge “as soon as practicable.”       Id.   It
    
    follows that when a judge learns it is practicable to transfer a matter
    
    from which he or she would ordinarily be disqualified to another judge
    
    before considering it, the rule of necessity does not permit the judge to
    
    consider it. Stated another way, a judge with a duty of disqualification
    
    can only show he or she was the only judge available to decide a matter
    
    requiring immediate attention when the evidence shows it was not
    
    practicable for the judge to transfer the matter to another judge before
    
    deciding it.   Thus, under such circumstances, a judge must assess
                                             28
    
    whether any available options for transferring the matter to another
    
    judge satisfies the degree of urgency called for before relying on the rule
    
    of necessity.
    
           4. Application of the rule of necessity. Judge Howes contends the
    
    rule of necessity excused her from any duty she had to disqualify herself
    
    from deciding whether to grant the temporary injunction. We agree with
    
    Judge Howes that an application for a temporary injunction is the sort of
    
    matter that may require immediate judicial attention. 8 But we conclude
    
    the circumstances existing when Judge Howes signed the ex parte order
    
    did not excuse her from disqualification based on necessity for two
    
    reasons. 9
    
           First, we are not persuaded that Judge Howes was the only judge
    
    available to consider the application for a temporary injunction.                 The
    
    record indicates at least six or seven of the eight district court judges
    
    with chambers in the Scott County Courthouse were present on the
    
    morning Ms. Pauly presented the ex parte application to Judge Howes.
    
    Judge Howes presented evidence revealing that every judge present in
    
    the courthouse when she signed the order granting the temporary
    
    injunction had a full morning according to the assignment schedule.
    However, we conclude this evidence, though relevant, was insufficient to
    
    conclude necessity excused her failure to disqualify herself from
    
    considering the ex parte application for the injunction.
    
           8Because we decide necessity did not excuse Judge Howes from disqualification
    
    on other grounds, we do not address whether the application Ms. Pauly presented to
    her warranted a conclusion that the requisite degree of urgency existed.
           9Similarly,  because we conclude necessity did not excuse Judge Howes from
    disqualification on other grounds, we need not decide whether necessity may excuse a
    judge’s duty of disqualification without advance disclosure of the basis for
    disqualification to the party not present in an ex parte proceeding permitted by law if
    disclosure is made on the record during that proceeding.
                                       29
    
          Ample testimony indicated the assignment schedule often included
    
    matters that had fallen off the schedule because they settled at the last
    
    minute. That was precisely the reason Judge Howes was available the
    
    morning she considered the application for a temporary injunction
    
    despite   the   assignment   schedule   indicating   she   would   not   be.
    
    Additionally, the evidence demonstrated the assignment judge was
    
    scheduled to hear motions in fifteen-minute intervals for the remainder
    
    of the morning following the morning order hour.       Thus, the evidence
    
    unequivocally established not only that at least one judge present in the
    
    courthouse was not in the midst of a jury trial, but also that it would be
    
    possible to interrupt that judge to request that he consider an emergency
    
    matter within fifteen minutes. We are confident any judge who had been
    
    informed by Judge Howes or a court administrator that he or she was the
    
    only judge without a conflict available to consider an emergency
    
    application for a temporary injunction would have agreed to take five
    
    minutes to consider it.
    
          Moreover, we note Judge Howes presented no evidence to suggest
    
    she attempted to verify she was the only judge available before
    
    considering the application for a temporary injunction.     Because there
    
    were at least a half dozen judges in the courthouse that morning, it was
    
    not obvious that necessity permitted Judge Howes to consider the
    
    application despite her conflict, as might have been the case had she
    
    been the only judge in the courthouse.        Yet the record reflects no
    
    evidence suggesting Ms. Pauly told Judge Howes she had attempted to
    
    present the application to the other judges in the courthouse. Nor does
    
    the record reveal any evidence suggesting Judge Howes asked Ms. Pauly
    
    if she had done so. In fact, the record reflects no evidence suggesting
                                              30
    
    Judge Howes consulted the assignment schedule or called the court
    
    administrator before considering the application.
    
           Second, we are not persuaded that Judge Howes made reasonable
    
    efforts to transfer the matter to another judge or considered whether
    
    transfer was practicable under the circumstances before considering it.
    
    The record reveals no evidence suggesting Judge Howes attempted to
    
    assess whether transfer was practicable under the circumstances. There
    
    was no evidence suggesting Judge Howes investigated the degree of
    
    urgency called for by questioning Ms. Pauly. 10             Nor did the evidence
    
    suggest Judge Howes checked with the court administrator or the clerks
    
    in the chambers of any of the other judges before deciding to consider
    
    the application herself.      During her testimony before the Commission,
    
    Judge Howes acknowledged that, given the nature of the application, it
    
    was immediately apparent to her that considering it would take mere
    
    minutes.       Thus, in light of the many other judges present in the
    
    courthouse, Judge Howes had no basis for concluding transfer to
    
    another judge was wholly impracticable without some investigation.
    
    Under these circumstances, we conclude her failure to investigate and
    
    her failure to attempt to find another judge to consider the ex parte
    
    application fatally undermine her claim of necessity.
    
           Our research has not uncovered a single case in which a judge
    
    successfully invoked the rule of necessity under similar circumstances.
    
    See Huffman v. Ark. Judicial Discipline & Disability Comm’n, 
    42 S.W.3d 386
    , 393 (Ark. 2001) (concluding there was no showing of necessity when
    
    it was unclear a party seeking a temporary restraining order could not
    
           10For  example, had Judge Howes questioned Ms. Pauly, she might have learned
    that Ms. Pauly prepared the application for a temporary injunction the night before yet
    arrived at the courthouse after the morning order hour had ended.
                                         31
    
    have waited “until another judge could be found” or been sent to the
    
    chambers of a judge on the bench in the same courthouse “to wait for
    
    him to take a recess or otherwise become available”). Unless necessity is
    
    evident from the circumstances, a judge may not invoke the rule of
    
    necessity to circumvent his or her duty of disqualification without first
    
    attempting to determine whether transfer was practicable under the
    
    circumstances.
    
          The record in this case does not support a finding that necessity
    
    was evident from the circumstances existing when Judge Howes
    
    considered the application for a temporary injunction.         Nor does the
    
    record support a finding that Judge Howes determined transfer of the
    
    matter to another judge was impracticable. Therefore, we conclude the
    
    rule of necessity did not excuse Judge Howes from the duty of
    
    disqualification that arose due to her attorney–client relationship with
    
    Ms. Pauly.     Accordingly, we agree with the Commission that Judge
    
    Howes violated rule 51:2.11(A) and canon 2 of the Iowa Code of Judicial
    
    Conduct when she decided whether to grant the application for a
    
    temporary injunction Ms. Pauly presented to her on July 25, 2013.
    
          B.     Rule 51:3.13(A) and Canon 3.        We next consider whether
    
    Judge Howes violated rule 51:3.13(A) and canon 3 of the Iowa Code of
    
    Judicial Conduct by failing to minimize the risk of conflict with her
    
    judicial obligations and accepting gifts of free legal services from
    
    Mr. Jasper and Ms. Pauly.
    
          1. Governing legal principles. Canon 3 of the Iowa Code of Judicial
    
    Conduct provides that “a judge shall conduct the judge’s personal and
    
    extrajudicial activities to minimize the risk of conflict with the obligations
    
    of judicial office.” Because judges accepting gifts creates a risk of conflict
    
    with their judicial obligations, rule 51:3.13 limits the circumstances
                                          32
    
    under which a judge may accept a gift or thing of value from another
    
    person.
    
          First, rule 51:3.13(A) sets forth two considerations a judge must
    
    take into account before accepting any gift or thing of value. It provides,
    
    “A judge . . . shall not accept or solicit any gift, loan, bequest, benefit, or
    
    other thing of value, if acceptance is prohibited by law or would appear to
    
    a reasonable person to undermine the judge’s independence, integrity, or
    
    impartiality.” Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct R. 51:3.13(A). Under this
    
    rule, a judge may not accept a gift or thing of value in violation of the
    
    state gift laws set forth in chapter 68B of the Iowa Code. See Iowa Code
    
    §§ 68B.2, .22, .23, .34.    In addition, a judge may not accept a gift or
    
    thing of value when its acceptance would reasonably appear to
    
    undermine his or her independence, integrity, or impartiality. Iowa Code
    
    of Judicial Conduct R. 51:3.13(A).
    
          Second, rule 51:3.13(B) sets forth an exclusive list of gifts and
    
    things of value a judge may accept from a “restricted donor.” Any party
    
    or other person involved in a case pending before a judge qualifies as a
    
    “restricted donor.”   See id., Terminology.    Therefore, the rule identifies
    
    the only gifts or things of value a judge may accept from an individual
    
    involved in a pending case before him or her. Id. r. 51:3.13 cmt. 1.
    
          Third, rule 51:3.13(C) describes circumstances under which a
    
    judge may accept a gift or thing of value from an individual who is not a
    
    restricted donor. It provides that a judge may accept gifts and things of
    
    value “from friends, relatives, or other persons, including lawyers, whose
    
    appearance or interest in a proceeding pending or impending before the
    
    judge would in any event require disqualification of the judge under rule
    
    51:2.11.”   Id. r. 51:3.13(C)(1).   Under this rule, a judge may generally
    
    accept gifts or things of value from lawyers or other individuals whose
                                        33
    
    appearance before the judge would require disqualification or disclosure
    
    under rule 51:2.11 with the important caveat that acceptance may not
    
    otherwise be prohibited under rule 51:3.13(A). Id. r. 51:3.13(C).
    
          “Whenever a judge accepts a gift or other thing of value without
    
    paying fair market value, there is a risk that the benefit might be viewed
    
    as intended to influence the judge’s decision in a case.” Id. r. 51:3.13
    
    cmt. 1. Nevertheless, the Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct recognizes that
    
    acceptance of a gift is unlikely to appear to a reasonable person to
    
    undermine judicial independence, integrity, or impartiality when the
    
    circumstances quite clearly indicate the person giving the gift did not
    
    give it based on the recipient’s status as a judge. Rule 51:3.13 generally
    
    does not prohibit judges accepting special pricing, discounts, and other
    
    benefits made available to the public or certain classes of persons by
    
    businesses or financial institutions:
    
          Businesses and financial institutions frequently make
          available special pricing, discounts, and other benefits,
          either in connection with a temporary promotion or for
          preferred customers, based upon longevity of the
          relationship, volume of business transacted, and other
          factors. A judge may freely accept such benefits if they are
          available to the general public, or if the judge qualifies for
          the special price or discount according to the same criteria
          as are applied to persons who are not judges. As an
          example, loans provided at generally prevailing interest rates
          are not gifts, but a judge could not accept a loan from a
          financial institution at below-market interest rates unless
          the same rate was being made available to the general public
          for a certain period of time or only to borrowers with
          specified qualifications that the judge also possesses.
    
    Id. r. 51:3.13 cmt. 3.   Accordingly, rule 51:3.13(B) permits a judge to
    
    accept “commercial or financial opportunities and benefits, including
    
    special pricing and discounts” offered by restricted donors so long as “the
    
    same opportunities and benefits . . . are made available on the same
                                        34
    
    terms to similarly situated persons        who are not judges.”         Id.
    
    r. 51:3.13(B)(2).
    
          Because legal services constitute a thing of value, rule 51:3.13(A)
    
    forbids a judge from accepting free legal services if doing so would appear
    
    to a reasonable person to undermine his or her independence, integrity,
    
    or impartiality.    Attorneys with matters presently before a judge fall
    
    within the definition of “restricted donor” precisely because a judge
    
    accepting a thing of value from such an attorney would appear to a
    
    reasonable person to undermine the judge’s independence, integrity, or
    
    impartiality.
    
          However, an attorney or firm who is currently providing legal
    
    services to a judge is an attorney or firm whose appearance before the
    
    judge would trigger the disqualification or disclosure requirement of rule
    
    51:2.11. Therefore, under rule 51:3.13(C), a judge may accept free legal
    
    services from an attorney or firm currently representing him or her
    
    because it would trigger the disqualification or disclosure requirement of
    
    rule 51:2.11 if that attorney or firm were to appear before the judge.
    
    Ordinarily, a reasonable person would not perceive a judge’s acceptance
    
    of free legal services to undermine the judge’s independence, integrity, or
    
    impartiality if the judge is required to disclose the relevant facts and
    
    obtained a waiver of disqualification from the parties under rule
    
    51:2.11(C) before deciding a matter.
    
          In contrast, when a judge accepts free legal services from an
    
    attorney or firm and then permits the attorney or firm to appear before
    
    him or her in court without disclosing the relevant facts and obtaining a
    
    waiver as required by rule 51:2.11(C), the judge’s conduct might appear
    
    to a reasonable person to undermine his or her independence, integrity,
    
    or impartiality.    The language of 51:3.13(C) explicitly acknowledges a
                                           35
    
    judge deciding a matter in which a party is represented by a lawyer from
    
    whom the judge accepted free legal services is sufficient to trigger the
    
    disqualification or disclosure requirement of rule 51:2.11 so long as the
    
    matter was impending when the services were accepted.11                Its clear
    
    implication is that a reasonable person might believe a judge’s
    
    independence, integrity, or impartiality has been compromised if the
    
    judge fails to disclose his or her recent acceptance of free legal services
    
    from an attorney or firm before deciding a matter in which the attorney
    
    or firm appears.
    
          Because rule 51:3.13(A) requires judges to avoid accepting gifts or
    
    things of value under circumstances that might erode or diminish
    
    confidence in the judicial system, it would be ill-served to the task for
    
    which it was intended if we were to construe it in an overly mechanical
    
    fashion.      Accordingly, we conclude any judge who accepts free legal
    
    services from an attorney or firm has a continuing obligation under
    
    51:3.13(A) and canon 3 to ensure his or her acceptance of those services
    
    would not appear to a reasonable person to undermine his or her
    
    independence, integrity, or impartiality by honoring the disclosure and
    
    waiver requirements of rule 51:2.11(C) before deciding a matter in which
    
    the attorney or firm appears.
    
          Because rule 51:3.13 does not forbid judges accepting free legal
    
    services under all circumstances, occasionally an attorney from whom a
    
    judge accepted free legal services will be scheduled to appear before the
    
    judge in court. Once a judge has accepted free legal services from an
    
    attorney or firm, the judge must either disqualify himself or herself from
    
          11The Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct defines “impending matter” as “a matter
    that is imminent or expected to occur in the near future.” Iowa Code of Judicial
    Conduct, Terminology.
                                           36
    
    any matter in which the attorney or firm who provided the services
    
    appears or disclose his or her acceptance of free legal services and obtain
    
    a waiver of the disqualification requirement from the parties.            See id.
    
    r. 51:2.11(A), (C).     A judge violates rule 51:3.13(A) and canon 3 of the
    
    Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct by failing to ensure his or her acceptance
    
    of free legal services does not reasonably appear to undermine his or her
    
    independence, integrity, or impartiality.
    
          2. Application of legal principles. Though Judge Howes offered to
    
    pay Mr. Jasper and Ms. Pauly for their legal services, the record indicates
    
    she accepted free legal services from both attorneys when they refused
    
    her offers for payment.         The Commission concluded Judge Howes
    
    violated rule 51:3.13(A) because it found her acceptance of free legal
    
    services from Mr. Jasper and Ms. Pauly would appear to a reasonable
    
    person to undermine her independence, integrity, or impartiality. 12
    
          Judge Howes had an attorney–client relationship with each of the
    
    attorneys from whom she accepted free legal services at the time she
    
    accepted the services.       Furthermore, the record contains no evidence
    
    suggesting the attorneys from whom Judge Howes accepted free legal
    
    services were restricted donors. Accordingly, we conclude Judge Howes
    did not violate rule 51:3.13 merely by accepting free legal services. See
    
    id. r. 51:3.13(C)(1).
    
          However, the record also reveals Judge Howes failed to honor her
    
    continuing obligation to ensure her acceptance of free legal services from
    
    Ms. Pauly would not reasonably appear to undermine her independence,
    
    
          12Ms.  Pauly filed the petition for dissolution of the marriage between
    Mr. Khawaja and Ms. Jadoon in the district court on November 9, 2012. However, the
    Commission did not charge Judge Howes with violating 51:3.13(B) or find that
    Ms. Pauly was a restricted donor.
                                              37
    
    integrity, or impartiality by failing to disqualify herself from a matter in
    
    which Ms. Pauly appeared or disclose her acceptance of free legal
    
    services from Ms. Pauly to the parties and obtain a waiver of the
    
    disqualification requirement. 13 Because Judge Howes failed to disqualify
    
    herself or disclose her acceptance of free legal services from an attorney
    
    who appeared before her, we agree with the Commission that she
    
    violated rule 51:3.13(A) and canon 3 of the Iowa Code of Judicial
    
    Conduct. 14
    
           C.     Rules 51:1.1 and 51:1.2 and Canon 1.                We now consider
    
    whether Judge Howes violated rules 51:1.1 and 51:1.2 as well as canon 1
    
    of the Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct by failing to comply with the rules
    
    set forth therein, failing to avoid the appearance of impropriety, and
    
    failing to promote public confidence in the independence, integrity, and
    
    impartiality of the judiciary.
    
           1. Governing legal principles. Canon 1 of the Iowa Code of Judicial
    
    Conduct provides that “a judge shall uphold and promote the
    
    independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary and shall avoid
    
    impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.”               Rule 51:1.1 provides
    
    that judges “shall comply with the law, including the Iowa Code of
    
    Judicial Conduct.” Id. r. 51:1.1. Rule 51:1.2 provides that a judge must
    
    “act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the
    
           13We note the record does not indicate whether Judge Howes honored these
    requirements when Mr. Jasper appeared before her after she accepted free legal services
    from him.
           14Because   we conclude rule 51:3.13(A) imposes a continuing obligation on a
    judge who accepts free legal services from an attorney to ensure his or her acceptance
    of those services would not reasonably appear to undermine his or her independence,
    integrity, or impartiality by honoring the disqualification or disclosure requirement of
    rule 51:2.11 before deciding a matter in which the attorney appears, we need not decide
    whether the matter Judge Howes decided constituted an “impending matter.” See Iowa
    Code of Judicial Conduct, Terminology; id. r. 51:3.13(C)(1).
                                         38
    
    independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary and shall avoid
    
    impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.”       Id. r. 51:1.2.   For
    
    purposes of applying this rule, the term “impropriety” means “conduct
    
    that violates the law, court rules, or provisions of the Iowa Code of
    
    Judicial Conduct, and conduct that undermines a judge’s independence,
    
    integrity, or impartiality.” Id., Terminology. The term “integrity” means
    
    “probity, fairness, honesty, uprightness, and soundness of character.”
    
    Id.
    
          As the preamble to the Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct provides,
    
    judges “should aspire at all times to conduct that ensures the greatest
    
    possible public confidence in their independence, impartiality, integrity,
    
    and competence.” Id., Preamble [2]. Accordingly, rule 51:1.2 governs a
    
    judge’s conduct both on and off the bench. In re Meldrum, 
    834 N.W.2d 650
    , 653 (Iowa 2013); Block, 816 N.W.2d at 364; see Iowa Code of
    
    Judicial Conduct R. 51:1.2 cmt. 1.
    
          The comments to rule 51:1.2 describe various means by which a
    
    judge might fail to promote public confidence in the judiciary or fail to
    
    avoid the appearance of impropriety. In particular, conduct undermines,
    
    rather than promotes, public confidence in the judiciary when it appears
    
    to compromise the independence, integrity, and impartiality of a judge.
    
    Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct R. 51:1.2 cmt. 3.      Conduct creates an
    
    appearance of impropriety when it violates the Iowa Code of Judicial
    
    Conduct or creates in reasonable minds the perception that a judge
    
    engaged in conduct reflecting adversely on his or her impartiality or
    
    fitness as a judge. Id. r. 51:1.2 cmt. 5.
    
          2. Application of legal principles. Judge Howes decided a matter
    
    from which she failed to disqualify herself when the rule of necessity did
    
    not apply without disclosing all the relevant facts and obtaining a waiver
                                       39
    
    of the disqualification requirement from the parties. She also failed to
    
    ensure her acceptance of free legal services did not reasonably appear to
    
    undermine her independence, integrity, or impartiality by deciding a
    
    matter in which an attorney from whom she accepted free legal services
    
    represented a party without disclosing her acceptance of free legal
    
    services from the attorney and obtaining a waiver of the disqualification
    
    requirement from the parties. By this conduct, Judge Howes failed to
    
    comply with the Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct, failed to avoid the
    
    appearance of impropriety, and failed to promote public confidence in the
    
    independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary. Therefore, we
    
    agree with the Commission that Judge Howes violated rules 51:1.1 and
    
    51:2.1 as well as canon 1.
    
          D.   Rules 51:1.1, 51:1.2, and 51:2.16(A) as well as Canons 1
    
    and 2. Finally, we consider whether Judge Howes violated rules 51:1.1,
    
    51:1.2, and 51:2.16(A) as well as canons 1 and 2 of the Iowa Code of
    
    Judicial Conduct by failing to be honest and candid with the
    
    Commission. Rule 51:2.16(A) provides that judges “shall cooperate and
    
    be candid and honest with judicial and lawyer disciplinary agencies.”
    
          The Commission charged Judge Howes with failing to be honest
    
    and candid with it based on statements appearing in her letter explaining
    
    her conduct.     Judge Howes sent the letter in response to the
    
    Commission’s request that she provide a written explanation of her
    
    conduct addressing the circumstances under which she signed the
    
    ex parte order and whether Ms. Pauly represented her at that time. In it,
    
    Judge Howes stated she had not contacted or hired Ms. Pauly upon
    
    receiving the letter from Mr. Henderkott in which he requested she
    
    reimburse him the money deducted from his tax return.
                                         40
    
          This statement conflicted with a statement appearing in the
    
    response Judge Howes sent to Mr. Henderkott upon receiving his letter.
    
    Specifically, in the response to Mr. Henderkott, Judge Howes indicated
    
    she had discussed the tax issue with her attorney, whom she identified
    
    as Ms. Pauly.
    
          During the hearing before the Commission, Judge Howes testified
    
    she   never     intended    to   mislead   the   Commission     about    her
    
    communications with Ms. Pauly. Judge Howes also acknowledged the
    
    statement in her response to Mr. Henderkott indicating she had spoken
    
    to Ms. Pauly was untruthful. Judge Howes did not remember precisely
    
    why she wrote the untruthful statement to Mr. Henderkott, but she
    
    indicated it might have been because she intended to tell Ms. Pauly
    
    about Mr. Henderkott’s letter at the time or because she wished to
    
    assume a particular posture in her communications with him.
    
          Although the Commission expressed concern that Judge Howes
    
    did not thoroughly review her records before responding to its request for
    
    a written explanation of her conduct, it concluded Judge Howes did not
    
    intentionally deceive it. Therefore, the Commission concluded there was
    
    not a convincing preponderance of the evidence indicating Judge Howes
    
    failed to cooperate with its investigation or deceived it in violation of any
    
    particular rule or canon.
    
          After careful review of the record, we also conclude the evidence
    
    was inadequate to prove Judge Howes was intentionally dishonest with
    
    the Commission.      What Judge Howes wrote to the Commission was
    
    inconsistent with what she wrote to Mr. Henderkott. However, in both
    
    her written explanation of her conduct and her testimony before the
    
    Commission, Judge Howes acknowledged that Ms. Pauly wrote the
    
    May 22 letter on her behalf.       In addition, Judge Howes consistently
                                        41
    
    indicated to the Commission that she communicated about the tax
    
    dispute with Ms. Pauly only after Ms. Pauly received the letter from
    
    Mr. Kepros, and Ms. Pauly corroborated this account of the timeline in
    
    her testimony.
    
          Although a convincing preponderance of the evidence indicates
    
    Judge Howes made an inaccurate statement, the record indicates it was
    
    probably the statement in her letter to Mr. Henderkott, not the statement
    
    in her written explanation of her conduct to the Commission. However
    
    carefully worded the letter Judge Howes wrote to the Commission might
    
    have been, the evidence was inadequate to prove she violated any rule or
    
    canon in the manner charged by a convincing preponderance of the
    
    evidence. Accordingly, we agree with the Commission the evidence does
    
    not prove Judge Howes violated rules 51:1.1, 51:1.2, and 51:2.16(A) as
    
    well as canons 1 and 2 of the Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct in the
    
    manner charged.
    
          IV. Sanction.
    
          We impose sanctions in judicial discipline proceedings “not to
    
    punish the individual judge, but to restore and maintain the dignity,
    
    honor, and impartiality of the judicial office.”   In re McCormick, 
    639 N.W.2d 12
    , 16 (Iowa 2002).    We also impose sanctions to protect the
    
    public by deterring judges from engaging in unethical conduct in the
    
    future. Block, 816 N.W.2d at 365.
    
          There are no standard sanctions in judicial discipline cases based
    
    on the rule or rules violated. Meldrum, 834 N.W.2d at 654. Ultimately,
    
    we determine the suitable sanction by considering the goals served by
    
    judicial discipline and the entire record before us.    In re Dean, 
    855 N.W.2d 186
    , 192 (Iowa 2014). We tailor the sanction to the particular
    
    case by considering all the aggravating or mitigating factors that may
                                         42
    
    bear upon the appropriate sanction for the offending conduct. Krull, 860
    
    N.W.2d at 46.
    
          We begin our analysis concerning the appropriate sanction in a
    
    judicial discipline case by considering the following factors:
    
          1. whether the misconduct is isolated or a pattern of
          misconduct;
    
          2. the nature,     extent,   and    frequency   of   the    acts     of
          misconduct;
    
          3. whether the misconduct occurred in or out of the
          courtroom;
    
          4. whether the misconduct occurred in the judge’s official
          capacity or in his or her private life;
    
          5. whether the judge has acknowledged or recognized the
          misconduct;
    
          6. whether the judge has made an effort to change or modify
          his or her conduct;
    
          7. the length of service on the bench;
    
          8. whether there have been any prior complaints;
    
          9. the effect of the misconduct upon the integrity of and
          respect for the judiciary; and
    
          10. the extent to which the judge exploited the judicial office
          to satisfy personal interests.
    
    Krull, 860 N.W.2d at 46 (quoting Block, 816 N.W.2d at 365–66). We may
    
    also consider any additional factors we find relevant to calibrating the
    
    sanction to the particular misconduct, including the sanctions imposed
    
    in cases involving similar misconduct and the subjective motivations of
    
    the judge who engaged in misconduct. See id. at 46–47; McCormick, 639
    
    N.W.2d at 16–18.
    
          The   Commission      recommended       Judge    Howes          be   publicly
    
    reprimanded,    rather   than   temporarily    suspended,        in   light     of   a
                                         43
    
    consideration it found to mitigate the severity of her misconduct.       In
    
    particular, the Commission concluded the legal culture in which Judge
    
    Howes works likely contributed to her apparent confusion regarding the
    
    applicable standards for identifying conflicts that warrant judicial recusal
    
    and the appropriateness of judges accepting free legal services from
    
    attorneys likely to appear before them. We give respectful consideration
    
    to the Commission’s recommendation regarding an appropriate sanction,
    
    but we are not bound by it. Krull, 860 N.W.2d at 43.
    
          On the one hand, several factors we ordinarily weigh in considering
    
    the appropriate sanction for judicial misconduct counsel in favor of a
    
    serious sanction here.    Though Judge Howes’s misconduct took place
    
    during an isolated episode, it was particularly likely to erode the
    
    confidence of litigants appearing before her. Furthermore, though Judge
    
    Howes never engaged in misconduct in a public courtroom, she
    
    committed misconduct in her chambers while acting in her official
    
    capacity.   Additionally, misconduct of the sort at issue in this case is
    
    understandably likely to undermine public respect for and public
    
    confidence in the integrity of the judiciary.
    
          On the other hand, several additional factors we traditionally find
    
    relevant to determining an appropriate sanction in a judicial discipline
    
    case counsel in favor of a lighter sanction. The conduct by which Judge
    
    Howes violated her ethical duties involved an isolated decision. In view
    
    of the charges against her, Judge Howes appears to have at least
    
    resolved to be more cautious about ensuring her conduct complies with
    
    her ethical duties in the future. Judge Howes has served the state as a
    
    member of the judiciary for approximately twenty-three years, and she
    
    has never been disciplined before. Nor does the evidence suggest Judge
    
    Howes exploited her judicial role to her personal benefit.          On the
                                        44
    
    contrary, judges and attorneys who appeared before the Commission on
    
    her behalf indicated she has an excellent reputation as a judge.
    
          We agree with the Commission that additional circumstances are
    
    relevant to selecting the appropriate sanction in this case. Based on the
    
    testimony of the other judges who appeared before the Commission on
    
    her behalf, it is evident Judge Howes was not alone in her mistaken
    
    beliefs concerning her ethical obligations.    But we are mindful that
    
    judges are responsible for assuring that they understand the parameters
    
    of their ethical duties.    Because avoiding even the appearance of
    
    impropriety is of paramount importance to maintaining the public trust
    
    and respect for the judiciary, judges should conduct themselves
    
    especially cautiously whenever those parameters appear to be unclear or
    
    debatable.    Accordingly, we conclude the apparent lack of clarity
    
    concerning the rules violated counsels only slightly in favor of a lighter
    
    sanction.
    
          In addition, Judge Howes has reassured us that she did not
    
    intentionally or knowingly disregard her ethical obligations. Rather, it is
    
    clear that, were it not for her mistaken beliefs concerning the rules
    
    governing her conduct, she would have conducted herself differently to
    
    avoid violating them. Judge Howes acted in good faith and took care to
    
    assure she honored what she understood those requirements to be.
    
    Moreover, we are firmly convinced Judge Howes did not intend to give
    
    Ms. Pauly or her client any advantage by granting the application for a
    
    temporary injunction.      Rather, the order she signed was merely a
    
    temporary order maintaining the status quo pending a further hearing,
    
    and she believed that an emergency warranting immediate action existed.
    
    We conclude these facts also counsel in favor of a lighter sanction.
                                            45
    
          Under the circumstances of this case, we believe a formal
    
    reprimand      is    unnecessary   to   maintain   the   dignity,   honor,   and
    
    impartiality of judiciary.      See McCormick, 639 N.W.2d at 16.         Judge
    
    Howes clearly violated the Iowa Code of Judicial Conduct, but she would
    
    have conducted herself differently had she understood her ethical
    
    obligations.        See In re Frerichs, 
    238 N.W.2d 764
    , 770 (Iowa 1976).
    
    Shared confusion concerning the parameters of those obligations directly
    
    and understandably contributed to her conduct.
    
          In appropriate cases, a public admonition may be adequate to
    
    repair an appearance of impropriety in service to the public interest. See
    
    Comm. on Prof’l Ethics & Conduct v. Liles, 
    430 N.W.2d 111
    , 112–13 (Iowa
    
    1988) (“The public’s interest in guarding against even an appearance of
    
    impropriety can be adequately served here by an admonition.”). A public
    
    admonishment may also perform the important function of avoiding the
    
    appearance of impropriety in the future by instructing members of the
    
    bench as to how to avoid violating their ethical obligations when similar
    
    circumstances arise. See id. at 113. Accordingly, we conclude a public
    
    admonishment will serve the fundamental purposes of judicial discipline
    
    in this case. Block, 816 N.W.2d at 365; McCormick, 639 N.W.2d at 16.
    
          We are mindful of statutory and constitutional limits on our power
    
    to sanction a judicial officer.     Section 602.2106(3)(b) of the Iowa Code
    
    permits this court to discipline or remove a judicial officer when the
    
    Commission files an application for judicial discipline.             Iowa Code
    
    § 602.2106(3)(b).       In the context of attorney disciplinary proceedings,
    
    however, we have previously recognized that public admonitions
    
    constitute something “considerably less severe than reprimands, and . . .
    
    something less than actual discipline.” Liles, 430 N.W.2d at 113.
                                          46
    
          Notwithstanding this distinction, we conclude this court has the
    
    power to admonish, rather than reprimand, suspend, or remove, a judge
    
    when the Commission files an application for judicial discipline for the
    
    following reasons. First, section 602.2106(4) states that this court may
    
    “render the decree that it deems appropriate” when it finds an
    
    application for judicial discipline “should be granted in whole or in part.”
    
    Iowa Code § 602.2106(4).        Second, the Iowa Constitution grants this
    
    court “supervisory and administrative control over all inferior judicial
    
    tribunals throughout the state.”      Iowa Const. art. V, § 4.      Thus, we
    
    conclude that when the Commission makes an application for discipline
    
    of a judicial officer to this court, upon deciding to grant the application
    
    this court has the power to admonish rather than reprimand, suspend,
    
    or remove a judicial officer.
    
          V. Conclusion and Sanction.
    
          We    conclude    Judge    Howes     violated   rules   51:1.1,   51:1.2,
    
    51:2.11(A), and 51:3.13(A) as well as canons 1, 2, and 3 of the Iowa Code
    
    of Judicial Conduct. We therefore grant the Commission’s application for
    
    judicial discipline and publicly admonish Judge Howes for her conduct.
    
          APPLICATION GRANTED AND JUDGE PUBLICLY ADMONISHED.