Judicial Ethics Opinions

Judicial Ethics Opinion 14-69

It is ethically permissible for a judge to suggest that his/her wedding guests consider contributing to a charity of their choice in lieu of giving a wedding gift where the judge also asks the guests to omit any reference to his/her judicial title when sending the donation.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 14-73

A judge may write an unsolicited letter to a federal executive branch employee expressing appreciation for the employee's professionalism, based on the judge's personal knowledge, and may use his/her judicial stationery marked "personal and unofficial."

Judicial Ethics Opinion 14-66

A part-time judge who is also a high-level employee of the county government: (1) may allocate funds annually to the probation department's probation employment program, provided it does not result in the judge's frequent disqualification; (2) must not personally participate in the solicitation of funds, but may manage other county employees who will engage in such solicitations on behalf of the county office or department for which the judge works; and (3) may meet with elected officials to advocate for maintenance of services to a particular category of individuals, subject to certain limitations.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 14-106

An administrative judge who is required to transmit the name of an individual recommended for a particular appointment to the appointing authority, but has ethical or administrative concerns about the suitability of the appointment, should advise the appointing authority of his/her concerns when transmitting the individual's name.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 14-74

A full-time judge may accept free admission to a continuing legal education seminar offered by a private legal training organization that is owned and/or operated by an attorney who has not appeared, and is not likely to appear, in the judge's court, subject to a reporting requirement if the value of the gift exceeds $150. In the event that the attorney later appears in the judge's court, the judge's obligation is to disclose the gift for a reasonable period of time following the seminar, and the length of such period of time is left entirely to the judge's discretion after consideration of all relevant factors.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 14-68

A town or village justice need not prohibit the court clerk from engaging in charitable fund-raising on his/her own time and away from court premises.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 14-59

A judge need not disclose that his/her minor children work part-time as babysitters for the children of an attorney who appears in the judge's court and need not disqualify him/herself when the attorney appears.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 14-112

A judge may participate in a culturally mandated celebration and burial ceremony in honor of the judge's deceased parent, which will take place in another country. During one portion of the ceremony, family, friends and other well-wishers shower the judge and his/her siblings with local currency.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 14-62

A judge may preside over a case where a party currently appearing before him/her is also an attorney who regularly appears before the judge, provided the judge concludes he/she can be fair and impartial. The judge does not thereby incur any obligation to disclose or disqualify him/herself in other matters in which the attorney or his/her law firm appears.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 14-78

If a Surrogate determines that an interested party is legally in default, remittal of disqualification may be achieved without informing the defaulting party of the basis of the disqualification, and without obtaining the consent of the defaulting party.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 14-73

A judge may write an unsolicited letter to a federal executive branch employee expressing appreciation for the employee's professionalism, based on the judge's personal knowledge, and may use his/her judicial stationery marked "personal and unofficial."

Judicial Ethics

Judicial Ethics Opinion 14-23

A full-time judge who has independently written, published, marketed, and sold a bench book online is not prohibited from also selling the book directly to the Unified Court System's Office of Court Administration. Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.4(H)(1)(C); Opinion 10-84.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 14-19

A judge may not collect DNA samples from convicted defendants. Rules: Judiciary Law § 212(2)(l); 22 NYCRR 100.1; 100.2; 100.2(A); 101.1; Opinions 13-66; 09-160.