Judicial Ethics Opinions

Judicial Ethics Opinion 15-182

Provided the enumerated extra–judicial activities do not interfere with the judge's regular judicial duties, a full-time judge who has written and published a book may (1) appear throughout the United States to promote his/her book, (2) conduct book signings and speak at bookstores, law schools, and bar associations in New York and elsewhere, and (3) permit copies of the book to be available for purchase at such events.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 15-39

A judge who knows that the probation department is likely to refer defendants who are convicted of crimes involving domestic violence charges to a program run by the judge's social worker spouse is disqualified, subject to remittal, from presiding in criminal matters involving domestic violence charges.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 15-30

A judge should not affirmatively assist a newspaper in improving the accuracy of its reporting by regularly supplying factual information to the newspaper about cases in the judge's court.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 15-127

A judge may not, by court order, delegate to a court clerk the authority to impose a pre-determined fine for traffic infractions.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 15-20

A town justice should not simultaneously serve as County Emergency Medical Services Coordinator, since its duties involve various law enforcement functions.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 15-19

A full-time judge who asked his/her former law firm in writing to immediately remove the judge's name from the firm's signage, letterhead, and other materials need not take any further action.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 15-23

A judge who teaches at a law school, and has no role in a pro bono clinical program organized as a separate legal entity from the law school, may appoint the clinic and its qualified participants to fiduciary positions, and may award appropriate fees as the applicable rules and law permit.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 15-42

A judge and his/her family may, at a nonprofit religious organization's request, share their experience with its summer camp with other families who are considering sending their children to the camp. The judge's family may thereafter accept the camp's offer of a discount or a t-shirt or sweatshirt.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 15-21

A judge need not object to the county executive's proposal to mention, during an upcoming state of the county address, that the judge is a satisfied user of a county-run public transportation system.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 15-16

A village justice may preside when village police officers appear in the village court.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 15-32

A judge who is a resident shareholder and proprietary lessee in a cooperative housing corporation is disqualified, subject to remittal, from tax certiorari cases involving the judge's own building or housing corporation, but may preside in other tax certiorari cases brought by the same law firm on behalf of other clients.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 15-08

Details a judge's responsibilities during the pendency of his or her matrimonial action, and while any associated financial obligations continue between the judge and his/her spouse or former spouse, and for two years thereafter.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 15-155

A judge is not disqualified from presiding in a matter where the judge and his/her spouse own a de minimis interest in large corporations that are parties in the matter, nor need the judge disclose such de minimis interest(s), provided he/she can be fair and impartial.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 15-62 (Amended)

A full-time judge need not prohibit his or her spouse, who is a principal in a real estate LLC, from allowing the spouse's LLC to rent a storefront to a partisan political organization.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 15-15

Subject to certain limitations, a full-time judge may serve on the board of directors of a not-for-profit local development corporation.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 15-07

To the extent permitted by law, a town judge may voluntarily undertake to clear snow from the driveway of an abandoned property near his/her home as a public service, even if doing so may also inadvertently aid local law enforcement activities.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 14-154

Absent a legal requirement, a judge may not create, maintain and/or produce information about cases specifically and exclusively for a prosecutor's benefit.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 14-153

A judge may not permit a bar association to place collection bins for a charitable clothing drive within a courtroom. If the court is located inside a multi-use building, the judge may permit the bar association to place such bins in the building's common area.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 14-177

A full-time judge may not accept employment as part-time treasurer of the board of directors of a special district library financed by the local municipality.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 15-106

Under the circumstances presented, the judge need not disclose a brief and non-substantive conversation with counsel at a bar association function, and both the judge and his/her law clerk may continue to conduct settlement conferences in the case.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 14-171

A judge is not disqualified from presiding when the court clerk's second degree relative appears as an attorney but must insulate the court clerk from his/her relative's cases.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 15-96

The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct do not prohibit a judge from receiving, as part of an equitable distribution, a percentage of the future legal fees earned by his/her former spouse upon the settlement or verdict of any cases deemed part of the former spouse's law practice.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 15-85

A judge may review a defendant's driving history before accepting or rejecting a proposed plea agreement if he/she is authorized by law to do so.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 14-177

A full-time judge may not accept employment as part-time treasurer of the board of directors of a special district library financed by the local municipality.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 15-03

A judge may not chair a committee which informs members of a religious congregation of their membership fees, and may not permit his/her name to be listed as committee chair in certain associated written materials that describe such fees.

Judicial Ethics Opinion 15-06

A town or village justice whose first-degree relative is a social worker without supervisory responsibilities in the local probation department's domestic violence division (1) is disqualified, subject to remittal where available, from all cases in which his/her relative is personally involved, but (2) need not disclose the familial relationship in other matters involving the probation department and/or allegations of domestic violence, provided that his/her relative is not personally involved in the matter.