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Recently Broadcast Opinions


The Committee's published opinions are available here and on Westlaw. In addition, many opinions are sent to the Buffalo Law Journal, the Magistrate, the New York Daily Record, and/or the New York Law Journal.

The Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics recently issued the following opinions, which are linked below.

The Committee does not accept inquiries by e-mail. If you have a question about judicial ethics, please call the Committee at 1-866-79-JUDGE [58343] for assistance.


December 10, 2014 Broadcast

Opinion 14-23 May a full-time judge who has independently written, published, marketed, and sold a bench book online also sell the book directly to the Unified Court System's Office of Court Administration?

Opinion 14-28 May a part-time judge serve as counsel to a nearby town and, in such capacity, provide legal advice to the town board, attend town board meetings, and defend the town in tax certiorari proceedings brought in Supreme Court?

Opinion 14-32 (1) May a judge preside where a prospective witness and alleged victim in a criminal case is the presiding judge's former client in a case concluded more than five years ago? (2) May a judge preside where a prospective witness and alleged victim in a criminal case was formerly a respondent in a neglect proceeding the judge prosecuted in his/her former capacity as a government attorney?

Opinion 14-63 May a city court judge who is appointed by a body of city officials that includes the mayor preside in a case where the mayor, or the mayor's relative, appears as an attorney?

Opinion 14-69 Is it 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?

Opinion 14-72 May a village justice preside when members of the town board appear, where the town board does not participate in setting the village court's budget or its justice's salary, but the town board pays a portion of the village court's clerical expenses?

Opinion 14-73 May a judge 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 use his/her judicial stationery marked "personal and unofficial"?

Opinion 14-80 May a part-time lawyer/judge assist a long-time client and family friend with a case pending before another part-time lawyer/judge in the same county?

Opinion 14-90 Is a judge who has a social relationship with the deputy director of a legal services organization required to disqualify him/herself or disclose the relationship when the deputy director's subordinates appear before the judge?

Joint Opinion 14-92/14-94 When does a judicial candidate’s window period begin when the party designating meeting has been held and then a new meeting is scheduled due to withdrawal of a candidate from the campaign?

Opinion 14-125 Is it ethically permissible for a judge to write an article in a local quarterly magazine on the workings and jurisdiction of the local justice courts?

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December 3, 2014 Broadcast

Opinion 14-50 Is a judge ethically required to take any action in furtherance of his/her disciplinary responsibilities where a law enforcement officer has, in the course of testifying about possible criminal activity on the part of a criminal defendant, mentioned the names of one or more attorney(s) and judge(s)?

Opinion 14-52 May a judge permit an author to observe proceedings in the judge's courtroom and write about them and about the individuals involved, and respond to the author's general questions about the court and its legal procedures?

Opinion 14-66 May a part-time judge who also is a high-level employee of the county government: (1) allocate funds annually to a probation department employment program; (2) participate in the solicitation of funds; and (3) meet with elected officials to advocate for maintenance of services to a particular category of individuals?

Opinion 14-68 Must a town or village justice prohibit the court clerk from engaging in charitable fund-raising on his/her own time?

Opinion 14-114 How must a town judge respond when he/she believes certain charges allocated to the justice court line in the town's budget are not proper court expenditures?

Opinion 14-122 Is a judge required to report certain conduct of a notary public which may violate the Executive Law, when the notary is not a judge or an attorney?

Opinion 14-123 May a judge publicly advocate for passage of a constitutional amendment regarding legislative redistricting and serve as a moderator for a program on the redistricting amendment?

Opinion 14-124 May a judge accept an invitation to become a member of the Board of Directors of the local Police Athletic League?

Opinion 14-128 May a judge continue to preside over a criminal case where the defendant has previously caused a mistrial by telephoning the court purporting to be a trial juror; caused a delay in the trial by feigning a heart attack; and now has indicated his/her intention to commence an action against the judge, apparently in an effort to secure the judge’s disqualification before the judge can impose sentence?

Opinion 14-132 May a judge participate in a not-for-profit charitable organization's fund-raising challenge, where each participant is required to publicize his/her own participation and publicly solicit other participants?

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November 24, 2014 Broadcast

Opinion 14-20 May a supervising judge permit a local medical professional, who is an expert in child abuse and who regularly consults with and testifies as an expert on behalf of the District Attorney and/or the Department of Social Services, to present a judicial training on child abuse to Family Court judges who preside in the supervising judge's district?

Opinion 14-59 Must a judge disclose that his/her minor children work part-time as babysitters for the children of an attorney who appears in the judge's court?

Opinion 14-81 Must a judge disqualify him/herself, solely because a party appearing before the judge is the spouse of another judge who presides in the same court?

Opinion 14-96 May a judge preside in a particular uncontested matter, in which the parties are a judge and his/her spouse with whom the judge has had very limited social interaction over the years?

Opinion 14-98 May a part-time lawyer judge enter into an agreement with a private company to provide security and marketing services as a subcontractor, where the private company has its own contractual relationship with a not-for-profit organization whose counsel regularly appears before the judge?

Opinion 14-99 What topics is a judge ethically permitted to discuss on a local radio station and public access shows?

Opinion 14-105 May a judge continue to preside over a criminal case, where the defendant, who identifies him/herself as a member of the Sovereign Citizens group, has commenced a lawsuit against the judge and other public officials and agencies?

Opinion 14-106 May an administrative judge who is required to transmit the name of an individual recommended for a particular appointment to the appointing authority, do so when he/she has ethical or administrative concerns about the suitability of the appointment?

Opinion 14-109 Will the Committee reconsider Opinion 03-129, which states that a judge who is constitutionally barred from holding "another public office or trust" (NY Const art VI §20[b]) may not serve as a notary public; and, therefore, may not carry petitions to be designated by other parties in his/her re-election efforts?

Opinion 14-118 Is a judge ethically required to grant defense counsel’s motion for disqualification in a criminal matter, which the District Attorney’s office prosecutes, solely because the judge’s spouse is the District Attorney’s personal secretary, given the judge's spouse's "limited role" as secretary and "his/her lack of involvement in any criminal matters"?

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November 13, 2014 Broadcast

Opinion 14-26 May a judge attend a CLE education program where the judge's decision on a novel legal issue will be discussed, while the matter remains pending or impending? May the judge write a law review article discussing the rationale behind the decision and its potential impact on future decisions?

Opinion 14-41 May a judge purchase tickets to and attend a fund-raising dinner for a not-for-profit organization that provides assistance to and advocates for victims of domestic violence, where the organization's volunteers sometimes accompany complainants to the judge's courtroom?

Opinion 14-48 May a judge permit his/her third-degree relative to serve as an unpaid summer intern in the judge’s chambers?

Opinion 14-61 (1) May a part-time judge who until recently was employed as a secretary in the local prosecutor's office preside when his/her former supervisor appears in court? (2) May a part-time judge who was employed as a secretary in the District Attorney's office more than four years ago preside when the District Attorney’s office appears in court?

Opinion 14-74 May a full-time judge 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?

Opinion 14-75 Must a town justice disqualify him/herself when a law partner or associate attorney from a town board member's law firm appears in the judge’s court?

Opinion 14-76 May a full-time judge perform additional, unexpected duties as the receiver for a matter the judge thought had been concluded before the judge assumed the bench?

Opinion 14-79 May a judge adopt a policy requiring parties to an action to appear before the judge for allocution and explanation before entering into an out-of-court stipulation, when one of the parties is unrepresented?

Opinion 14-83 What avenues of relief may a judge ethically pursue in response to actions the judge believes to be harassing and bullying?

Opinion 14-87 May a judge provide criminal defendants, who resolve their cases at arraignment with a disposition that does not include jail time, with a card that lists multiple resources for help with alcohol and drug addiction, along with the internet address for a public library website that lists a variety of social services available to the formerly incarcerated?


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October 27, 2014 Broadcast

Opinion 14-55 May a judge who is called as a witness in a criminal case concerning threats allegedly made against the judge continue to preside over unrelated matters involving the attorneys who are prosecuting or defending that criminal case?

Opinion 14-56 May a town judge preside over a matter involving an individual who is a former domestic partner of an official of the town in which the judge presides?

Opinion 14-57 May a part-time lawyer judge ask the clerk of a village justice court to assign all cases in which the judge represents a client to the non-lawyer acting village justice?

Opinion 14-58 When a pro se criminal defendant files a multi-million dollar lien against a judge's property and the sole basis for the lien filing is the judge's performance of his/her official judicial duties: (1) What steps may the judge take to clear his/her title? (2) May the judge use the court's clerical and other resources to assist in preparing a pro se expungement proceeding? (3) May the judge continue to preside in the criminal case?

Opinion 14-62 May a judge preside in a case where a party currently appearing before him/her is also an attorney who regularly appears before the judge? Is the judge thereafter required to disclose or disqualify him/herself in other matters in which the attorney or his/her law firm appears?

Opinion 14-64 May an appellate judge whose first-degree relative is a law enforcement officer with supervisory responsibilities within the jurisdiction of the judge's court preside over cases in which the law enforcement agency appears?

Opinion 14-65 May a town justice preside in a case involving the Town Highway Superintendent?

Opinion 14-67 Is a full-time judge required to file a report with the clerk of the court under Section 100.4(H) with respect to interest income, investment income, or compensation for legal work performed before he/she became a full-time judge?

Opinion 14-70 May a judge continue as a member of the advisory board of a hospital and as a member of the Rotary Club?

Opinion 14-71 Is it ethically permissible for a part-time judge to lease certain real property the judge owns to a business entity, where the entity's proposed use of the judge’s property will require obtaining certain approvals from the municipality where the property is located and could also lead to public hearings concerning the proposal?

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October 15, 2014 Broadcast

Opinion 14-29 May a judge hold a leadership role in a "non-partisan feminist coalition" which advocates for and influences legislative and social policy affecting women and children? Be a regular member of the organization? Attend meetings or events? Make contributions to the organization?

Opinion 14-33 May a judge, at the request of a friend who is seeking permission from a government agency to enter a foreign country, provide a letter of recommendation for submission to the government agency?

Opinion 14-35 May a full-time judge discuss the Bill of Rights at a public school teachers' conference, and accept an honorarium from a not-for-profit organization?

Opinion 14-39 Must a judge report an attorney to the disciplinary authority after learning the attorney is under indictment?

Joint Opinion 14-40/14-43 May a judge who is a member of a bar association's judicial section permit non-judge members of the bar association to ask law firms and other private entities to underwrite certain events which the bar association sponsors each year for the judicial section?

Opinion 14-45 May a judge accept an unannounced award at a college's fund-raising event? Be identified during and after the event as an award recipient? Be listed as a past award recipient on the college's website once the event is concluded?

Opinion 14-46 May a full-time quasi-judicial official serve as a coach for a local public school's sports team and accept the reasonable compensation offered?

Opinion 14-47 May a judge preside problem-solving court cases when the judge’s former client from the judge’s prior service as a public service attorney, appears?

Opinion 14-49 May a judge, quasi-judicial official, or candidate for election to judicial office attend a not-for-profit organization's fund-raising event, where the theme of the event, as promoted by the organization, is an exhortation for attendees to "repeal or disregard" a particular statute?

Opinion 14-53 May an attorney who is a part-time town judge practice law as partner of an attorney who is a part-time village prosecutor?

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October 7, 2014 Broadcast

Opinion 14-01 May a judge preside over an arraignment when a defendant is not represented by counsel?

Opinion 14-03 May a full-time judge serve as the executor of a parent's estate and give uncompensated legal advice to his/her parent? May a full-time judge serve as attorney for a parent’s estate?

Opinion 14-05 Is it permissible for a judge to host a court website on a social network?

Opinion 14-07 May a Family Court judge who formerly served in a high-ranking supervisory position in the county attorney's office, and thus frequently represented a county agency in neglect and abuse proceedings, either personally or through assistant county attorneys subject to his/her supervision, preside over matters in which the county attorney's office appears?

Opinion 14-09 May a judge who issued a decision on a novel legal issue attend a presentation at a bar association function at which the judge’s decision will be singled out for discussion by an individual associated with one side of the case, while the case is pending or impending?

Opinion 14-10 May a judge who formerly served as the District Attorney for the county where the judge presides preside over cases in which the District Attorney's office appears?

Opinion 14-11 May a judge who has sued the Public Defender preside in matters where the Public Defender or attorneys subject to the Public Defender’s supervision appear?

Opinion 14-13 What are the ethical obligations of a judge who sold his/her former law office telephone number to an attorney for a lump sum, when the purchasing attorney appears before the judge?

Opinion 14-17 May a judge amend his/her prior order to correct an error or omission that a party has brought to the judge’s attention?

Opinion 14-19 May a judge who is trained in the proper collection procedure for collecting DNA samples pursuant to applicable law undertake to collect DNA samples from individuals who have been found guilty and sentenced in the judge's court, for the convenience of defendants?

Opinion 14-27 May a judge preside when the judge’s former law clerk’s current law firm partners and associates appear in the judge’s court?

Opinion 14-30 What are the ethical obligations of judge who listed an attorney as a reference in the judge’s application for appointment or re-appointment when that attorney or his/her law firm colleagues appear before the judge? May the judge appoint such attorneys to fiduciary or other appointive positions?

Opinion 14-31 Is it ethically permissible for a judge to lecture, as part of a training program for appellate and trial prosecutors, on effective and ineffective techniques when litigating in the Appellate Division, when only prosecutors and law enforcement personnel will be in attendance?

Opinion 14-34 Is it appropriate for a judge to defer to a legal interpretation reached by another branch of government concerning the appointment of counsel for indigent defendants, when such interpretation is inconsistent with the judge's own good-faith interpretation of the law?

Opinion 14-36 May a town or village justice preside during an arraignment at which a town or village board member, who participates in setting the judge’s salary, appears as the prosecution’s sole representative?

Opinion 14-37 Is it ethically permissible for a judge to write articles about legal procedure for quarterly publication in a local newspaper with limited circulation?

Opinion 14-38 Is it ethically permissible for a judge to accompany his/her sibling, a pro-se litigant, to court in another state?

Opinion 14-42 What is a judge’s ethical obligation when a local Medical Center, which employs a member of the judge’s family who resides in the judge’s household, appears before the judge?

Opinion 14-44 May a part-time town justice also maintain employment as an investigator for the county Department of Social Services?

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August 20, 2014 Broadcast

Opinion 14-06 Is it ethically permissible for a judge to apply and interview for the position of town attorney for the town where the judge presides without first resigning his/her judgeship?

Opinion 14-08 Is it ethically permissible for a judge to participate in a local public radio station's on-air fund drives?

Opinion 14-12 May a judge sua sponte advise defendants of a specific plea agreement the judge anticipates the prosecutor will offer and explain its purported advantages?

Opinion 14-14 Is it ethically permissible for a judge to preside when members of the Public Defender's office appear before the judge when the Public Defender and the judge are co-counsels in another court?

Opinion 14-15 Is it ethically permissible for a judge to serve as a volunteer advisor and member of a special and planned gifts committee of a community college foundation?

Opinion 14-16 Is it ethically permissible for the Board of a County Bar Association, which includes several judges, to send a letter to the Chief Judge of the State of New York, voicing the Association's opinion about a proposed change in the Chief Administrator's rules governing attorney registration?

Opinion 14-18 Is it ethically permissible for a part-time judge to be employed as a zoning code official in a town 30 miles away from the town in which the judge presides as town justice?

Opinion 14-22 May a judge preside over cases in which the judge's former colleagues at a public law office appear as counsel once the judge becomes a full time judge and resigns his/her position in that office?

Opinion 14-24 Is it ethically permissible for a judge to be an advertised guest of honor at a law school fund-raising event?

Opinion 14-25 Is it ethically permissible for a judge, the Public Defender, assistant district attorney, various defense attorneys and certain court personnel to dine together approximately three to six times a year to celebrate birthdays?

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July 17, 2014 Broadcast

Opinion 13-121 May a part-time judge accept appointment as an arbitrator in a mandatory arbitration program established pursuant to the Rules of the Chief Judge in another local court of broader jurisdiction?

Opinion 13-126 May a judicial candidate use an email signature block on his/her personal email which requests non-financial support from voters and provides links to the campaign committee's social media page and campaign website?

Opinion 13-173 Does a judge have an ethical obligation to report an unidentified, unlicensed law school graduate who allegedly assisted, for remuneration, a pro se litigant in preparing a memorandum of law in support of a motion?

Opinion 13-175 Is a judge disqualified from presiding over petitions prepared and filed by the judge's successor in the County Attorney's office, merely because the petitions rely on documents filed by another government official or department while the judge was employed as the County Attorney?

Opinion 13-178 May a judge who owns a home in a multi-unit building publicly express his/her views on a proposal by building maintenance employees to unionize?

Opinion 13-179 May a judge may swear in an attorney to another state's bar, where the other state's board of bar examiners lists judges as one of several categories of acceptable witnesses?

Opinion 13-180 May a part-time town justice serve as town attorney in a different town from the one in which the judge presides?

Opinion 13-182 May a part-time judge who also serves as a full-time principal law clerk to a full-time judge preside (1) in cases where another part-time attorney judge appears? (2) in cases where the full-time judge's sibling appears?

Opinion 13-187 Is it ethically permissible for a judge to participate in and critique a mock settlement conference to be held as part of a private law firm's associate training program?

Joint Opinion 13-189/14-02 May a judges' association publicly support repeal of a controversial gun control law in its entirety, or the repeal or amendment of specific statutory provisions which affect the administration of justice? May an individual judge publicly support the repeal or amendment of provisions of a controversial gun control law that directly affects the judge’s own personal interests?

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July 11, 2014 Broadcast

Opinion 13-05 May a judge write a letter of nomination on behalf of a high school senior for a college scholarship?

Opinion 13-156 May a judge appear in a family video which will be presented in the judge’s sibling's honor at the annual meeting of a social welfare action organization which engages in lobbying?

Opinion 13-157 May a judge preside over cases brought by the county agency where the judge previously served as a high ranking county attorney for the agency?

Opinion 13-158 May a judge participate in creating and producing a video to provide information about the history and "current capabilities" of the court where the judge serves, and invite other judges to appear in the video?

Opinion 13-159 Is it ethically permissible for a judge to serve on a committee that "reviews, interprets, and advises on Church matters and doctrines"?

Opinion 13-160 Is it ethically permissible for a part-time judge to serve as a town justice in one county and a part-time clerk in a village court in a different county?

Opinion 13-161 May a judge serve as a deacon in his/her church, and stand at designated locations with other deacons and hold a plate or basket for the collection of tithes and offerings?

Opinion 13-162 May a judge who co-owns a rental building with an attorney preside over matters in which his/her co-owner appears?

Opinion 13-163 May a judge preside over matters involving code violations when the Village Code Enforcement Officer also serves as a Town Board member?

Opinion 13-170 Is it permissible for a full-time city court judge to preside over all aspects of the civil part of the court in light of his/her spouse's recent election to the city council?

Opinion 13-171 Is an Administrative Judge required to inform another judge that the Administrative Judge received a copy of a disciplinary complaint filed against the other judge?

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June 27, 2014 Broadcast

Opinion 13-140 May a judge address a civilian complaint review board on the law of search and seizure and arrest procedures?

Opinion 13-141 May a full-time judge serve as a friend's health care agent?

Opinion 13-142 May a judge who presides in a collaborative problem-solving court accept an award for the court and an associated monetary grant from a not-for-profit organization at a non-fund-raising event and speak briefly to acknowledge the award and grant?

Opinion 13-143 May a judge who is not in his/her window period attend a victory party for a newly elected co-judge when the party is separate and distinct from the co-judge's swearing-in ceremony?

Opinion 13-144 Do the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct prohibit a court attorney-referee from running for and, if elected, also serving as a part-time town or village justice?

Opinion 13-145 Is it ethically permissible for a judge to present a continuing legal education program in the judge’s courtroom in conjunction with a local Bar Association where the for-profit co-sponsor is potentially a fiduciary in one of the judge’s cases?

Opinion 13-148 May a full-time judge serve as Supervising Judge of the criminal trial courts in the same judicial district where the judge's adult emancipated child is a non-supervising felony prosecutor?

Opinion 13-149 Is it ethically permissible for a judge to co-author an op-ed article, which will include the judge’s name and title, supporting the passage of certain legislation?

Opinion 13-150 When a part-time judge is appointed to a full-time judicial position in the same court, is there a waiting period before part-time lawyer judges who preside in other courts in the county may appear before him/her? Once the judge discontinues his/her law practice, is there a waiting period before the judge's former law firm colleagues may appear before his/her co-judges?

Opinion 13-155 Is it ethically permissible for a full-time judge to serve on a community college advisory board which is being created to assist the college's paralegal and police science programs?

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June 6, 2014 Broadcast

Opinion 13-123 Is the title a judge has chosen for his/her law related book ethically permissible?

Joint Opinion 13-124/13-125/13-128/13-129 (1) May a judge meet privately with the public defender concerning implementation of a new counsel-at-arraignment program for indigent defendants? (2) May a judge speak ex parte with a defendant on topics relevant to determining the defendant's financial eligibility for the counsel-at-arraignment program, where the program is, by its terms, restricted to indigent defendants? (3) Where the district attorney is on notice that the counsel-at-arraignment program is in effect, may a judge consider the district attorney's failure to send, designate or otherwise reasonably make available a representative to attend or participate in such arraignments, as implied consent for the judge to conduct such arraignments ex parte? (4) May a judge accede to a public defender's request that the judge contact the defender's office for representation under the counsel-at-arraignment program only in cases where bail may be imposed and incarceration is a possibility?

Opinion 13-127 What, if any, action must a court attorney referee take after hearing testimony in a matrimonial matter about an attorney's personal use of client funds?

Opinion 13-130 May a part-time judge also be employed as a pistol permit clerk in the local sheriff's department?

Opinion 13-131 May a town or village justice permit a local constable to serve as a part-time court security officer or as a court interpreter?

Opinion 13-133 Are principal law clerks who are appointed to serve part-time as SCAR hearing officers during regular court hours as part of their job responsibilities subject to the same restrictions as sitting judges with respect to political activities?

Opinion 13-134 (1) May a judge who regularly presides over criminal matters, in which members of the local Fraternal Order of Police appear, be a member or officer of the organization? Attend the organization's monthly dinner meetings? May the judge’s personal appointees be members or officers of the organization and attend the organization's monthly meetings? (2) May a judge attend fund-raising events held by the local Fraternal Order of Police in support of a charity as a paying guest? Contribute financially to the organization without joining as a member? Contribute to the organization's charity drives? May a judge permit his/her personal appointees to undertake similar charitable efforts in connection with the organization?

Opinion 13-136 (1) May Judges who attend an educational program sponsored by the Office of Court Administration and hosted by a law school accept reimbursement from the law school host? (2) May Judges attend an education program sponsored by the Office of Court Administration and hosted by a law school that is financed by donations the law school host solicits from law school alumni, law firms, and businesses or business groups?

Opinion 13-139 May a judge purchase tickets to, and attend, a non-political retirement celebration for an elected official?

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June 2, 2014 Broadcast

Opinion 13-108 May a judge whose spouse is a supervisor in the county probation department preside in criminal matters where the department participates?

Opinion 13-109 Is it ethically permissible for a judge to serve on the board of directors of a not-for-profit organization founded to raise money for scholarships and to purchase certain items for law enforcement purposes in honor of a deceased relative?

Opinion 13-111 May a full-time judge who is a candidate for re-election, witness signatures on the judge’s  own nominating petitions as a Notary Public?

Opinion 13-112 What are a part-time judge’s ethical obligations with respect his/her co-judge practicing law in the village court where the judge also presides?

Opinion 13-113 May a full-time judge accompany his/her close friends to a small claims proceeding in which the friends  appear as parties?

Opinion 13-114 Must a judge disqualify him/herself when a litigant who is the niece/nephew (by marriage) of the judge's first cousin (by marriage) appears in the judge's court?

Opinion 13-115 May a judge attend and speak during a memorial service for a close personal friend who recently died, even though the friend is the judge's former district party leader and the decedent's county committee and party club will sponsor the memorial service?

Opinion 13-116 May a Housing Court judge speak at a meeting of a property owners' organization about court procedures in landlord-tenant matters?

Opinion 13-117 Is it ethically permissible for a Town Court to allow a Town Board member, who is involved in setting the judge’s salary and the court budget, to serve as a security officer in the court?

Opinion 13-118 Is a judge ethically obligated to further investigate allegations of impropriety by an attorney and report the alleged misconduct?

Opinion 13-119 Is it ethically permissible for a non-lawyer/town justice to accept a full time civil service position with the county Department of Motor Vehicles?

Opinion 13-120 Must a judge disqualify him/herself in matters involving two attorneys and their law firm because the judge testified, pursuant to a subpoena, at their disciplinary hearing eight years ago?

Opinion 13-121 May a part-time judge accept appointment as an arbitrator in a mandatory arbitration program established pursuant to the Rules of the Chief Judge in another local court of broader jurisdiction?

Opinion 13-122 May the judges' division of a specialized bar association that is dedicated to fighting a serious illness approve a grant to a not-for-profit charitable organization which does not engage in lobbying, if some of the money may be used to help train individuals to lobby for increased funding and improved health care?

Opinion 13-137/13-152/13-153 (1) May a candidate for judicial office participate in a joint advertisement, prepared on behalf of a slate of judicial and non-judicial candidates, that characterizes the slate as a "team" and urges voters to vote for particular row(s) on the ballot on which the slate appears?  (2) Must a candidate for judicial office use a disclaimer in such an advertisement indicating that he/she is not publicly endorsing other candidates?

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May 28, 2014 Broadcast

Opinion 13-93 May a part-time judge obtain a "Watch Guard Patrol License" and operate his/her own security agency?

Opinion 13-97 Must a judge exercise recusal in those cases in which the judge’s opponent in the upcoming election appears as an attorney?

Opinion 13-98 May a part-time judge accept paid employment as an assistant staff counsel to a minority conference of a county legislature?

Joint Opinion 13-99/13-100/13-101/13-102 May a judicial candidate pay to attend a political fundraiser for which no tickets are sold and no standard admission price has been set?  May a judicial candidate purchase an advertisement in a journal that will be distributed at a political party’s fund-raiser?

Opinion 13-104 What are a judge’s ethical obligations when attorneys from the law firm of the judge’s law clerk's relative's spouse appear before the judge?

Opinion 13-105  Is it ethically permissible for a judge to work as a bartender in a town that adjoins the town where the judge presides?

Opinion 13-106 Must a judge disqualify him/herself when an attorney with whom the judge has a social relationship appears in the judge’s court?

Opinion 13-107 Is it ethically permissible for a judge to serve as an officer for a club for alumni of the judge’s college?

Opinion 13-108 May a judge whose spouse is a supervisor in the county probation department preside in criminal matters where the department participates?

Opinion 13-109 Is it ethically permissible for a judge to serve on the board of directors of a not-for-profit organization founded to raise money for scholarships and to purchase certain items for law enforcement purposes in honor of a deceased relative?

Opinion 13-111 May a full-time judge who is a candidate for re-election, witness signatures on the judge’s own nominating petitions as a Notary Public?

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May 16, 2014 Broadcast

Opinion 13-49 Must a part-time lawyer/judge disclose that the assistant district attorney appearing before him/her is engaged to an associate at the judge's law firm?

Opinion 13-83 Must a judge, who has obtained an Order of Protection against an individual based on the individual's conduct during a recent appearance before the judge, disqualify him/herself from matters involving the individual until the Order of Protection expires?

Opinion 13-84 May a full-time judge be a shareholder in a closely held consulting business owned by the judge's non-attorney spouse, and also be included in a family photograph that will be posted on the website or other advertisements for that business?

Opinion 13-85 May a part-time judge who is retained as an expert witness include his/her judicial status in a curriculum vitae to be exchanged during discovery?

Opinion 13-86 May a judge provide head note style information about a judicial decision when submitting it to a law journal for possible publication?

Opinion 13-87 May a judge be one of several board members honored at a not-for-profit organization's fund-raising event? May the judge provide names of individuals for the organization to invite to the event and identify contacts who may be interested in a fund-raising leadership role?

Opinion 13-88 May a judge attend a party to celebrate the retirement of an individual who is currently a litigant in a matter pending in the judge's court?

Opinion 13-89 May a judge include a photograph of him/herself, taken while wearing a judicial robe, on the back cover of a bench book the judge has authored?

Opinion 13-90 To what extent is a judge’s ability to preside in a county department’s cases affected where the judge’s second degree relative is the only attorney in the department who handles a certain class of cases?

Opinion 13-92 May a judge meet privately with a local political party regarding the inner workings of the court?

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April 14, 2014 Broadcast

Opinion 13-71 The inquirer has become aware that another judge presided over a matter in which that judge's own current disciplinary counsel appeared; is reporting mandatory?

Opinion 13-72 May a part-time attorney/judge who occasionally performs arraignments in a neighboring municipality's court, but is not an "acting" member of that court and continues to sit as a judge of his/her own court when performing such arraignments, be included on a list of attorneys who are willing to serve as compensated arbitrators in that municipality?

Opinion 13-73 Is a not-for-profit foundation whose members are almost exclusively attorneys, and which is devoted to improvement of the law, the legal system and the administration of justice, a "bar association" for purposes of the rule permitting judges to be speakers and guests of honor at bar association fund-raising events?

Opinion 13-75 Must a judge disqualify him/herself in a criminal case on learning that the defendant filed a complaint against the judge with the Commission on Judicial Conduct?

Opinion 13-76 May a town justice include his/her judicial status: (a) in his/her law firm's advertisements; (b) in the biography he/she provides when speaking to or participating in bar association meetings; or (c) in the biography he/she provides when speaking to or participating in other groups, not related to the practice of law?

Opinion 13-77 An attorney has stated under oath that he/she falsely advised a client that the client's lawsuit was settled, and paid the client the purported settlement amount from the attorney's own personal funds; is reporting mandatory?

Opinion 13-78 May a judge permit his/her law clerk to continue working on cases prosecuted by the District Attorney's office while the law clerk is the District Attorney's opponent in the upcoming election?

Opinion 13-79 May a judge participate as a presenter at a victim impact panel in the jurisdiction where the judge presides?

Opinion 13-80 May a judge preside over matters in which the judge's summer intern's parent's law firm appears?

Opinion 13-82 May a judge teach a law school course devoted solely to an in-depth analysis of a highly publicized local criminal trial, where the time for appeal has elapsed, but a related civil case is pending?

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February 7, 2014 Broadcast

Opinion 12-180 Must a judge report a litigant and/or the litigant's attorney where the litigant asserted in an affidavit that he/she lied to the court and that his/her counsel advised him/her to do so, and in subsequent papers denied perjuring him/herself or intentionally lying to the court?

Opinion 13-59 Must a judge who has never been professionally associated with a law firm, but either has or has had social or professional relationships with two attorneys who are partners in the firm, preside when other members of the firm appear in the judge's court?

Opinion 13-60 Must a judicial candidate who has inadvertently overpaid for an upcoming political event by purchasing a sponsor-level ticket rather than a general admission ticket, and who has requested a refund of the excess payment, take any further action?

Opinion 13-61 Must a judge who concludes that an attorney has threatened to file a complaint against the judge in an effort to unduly influence the judge's judicial decision report the attorney to the disciplinary committee?

Opinion 13-62 May a judge preside over a criminal case where a prospective witness is the presiding judge's former client and a jury will hear the evidence and render a verdict?

Opinion 13-63 May a judge meet privately with the judge's state legislator to discuss pending legislation that proposes judicial upgrades for certain New York State courts?

Opinion 13-64 Is a judge's disqualification from matters involving his/her campaign treasurer's law firm subject to remittal during the judge's election campaign?

Opinion 13-65 (1) Must a judge disqualify him/herself from all cases involving the [County] Sheriff's Office because the judge’s spouse is a Sergeant with the [County] Sheriff's Office Road Patrol? (2) Must a judge disqualify him/herself from certain "dangerous dog" cases and "civil cases involving damage from dogs" as a result of the judge’s outside employment with a health department's rabies prevention and treatment program?

Opinion 13-66 May a part-time judge conduct a management study for the police department that appears in the judge's court?

Opinion 13-69 When is a judge required to report another part-time lawyer/judge for engaging in misconduct?

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January 14, 2014 Broadcast

Opinion 13-43 May a part-time judge permit a part-time assistant court clerk to also work as the assistant to the Chief of the police department that regularly appears in the judge's court?

Opinion 13-44 Is a part-time judge who previously served on a few occasions as a part-time prosecutor by designation required to disclose in criminal matters that the district attorney has revoked this designation without explanation?

Opinion 13-45 May a judge attend and be honored at a reception organized by a bar association and underwritten by one or more commercial sponsors, including a law firm that will host the reception at its offices and provide all refreshments, where the event is publicized and open generally to members of the bench and bar?

Opinion 13-46 Must a judge disqualify him/herself in matters where the county is a party, if the county is a tenant of the judge's first-degree relative?

Opinion 13-47 Must a judge disqualify him/herself solely because one of the litigants, in his/her capacity as a secretarial employee of a political party, answered the telephone when the judge called the political party's headquarters to discuss the judge's own candidacy during the applicable window period?

Opinion 13-50 Is it legal for a part-time judge, in his/her outside employment as an administrative law judge of a traffic bureau, to accept a guilty plea from a pro se defendant that includes incarceration?

Opinion 13-53 May a judge give a statement or affidavit requested by an assistant district attorney concerning a criminal case, adjudicated more than 20 years ago, in which the judge represented the defendant?

Opinion 13-54 Must a part-time judge who has adopted reasonable procedures to avoid presiding over matters in which current and recent former clients of his/her law firm appear, and then learns that he/she has nonetheless inadvertently presided over a matter in which one party was a recent former client, disclose that the defendant is a former client of the judge's law firm and/or take any other action?

Opinion 13-55 Is a judge required to report the alleged misconduct of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to the Commission on Judicial Conduct and/or to the department that employs the ALJ?

Opinion 13-58 May a part-time lawyer town justice appear as counsel in a city court which is located in the same county as the town court over which he/she presides, when he/she has accepted temporary assignments to sit in the same city court?

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December 5, 2013 Broadcast

Opinion 13-26 Is a judge required to disqualify him/herself when an attorney, who represents the judge's law clerk or secretary or who has a personal relationship with the judge's law clerk or secretary, appears in the judge's court?

Opinion 13-32 May a judge obtain the advice of a disinterested expert on the law with respect to a legal issue that is not currently before the judge but which the judge anticipates may come before him/her in the future?

Opinion 13-33 May the court advise a defendant of a police department's procedures for seeking a plea reduction?

Opinion 13-34 May a judge who presides in a criminal part lecture at an anti-violence program at a local correctional facility, where the attendees are persons who are incarcerated while either awaiting disposition of an unresolved case or awaiting sentence, and could appear before the judge as criminal defendants?

Opinion 13-35 Must a judge advise the police that a prospective tenant the judge interviewed has an open bench warrant from the court where the judge presides?

Opinion 13-36 May a judge presiding in a criminal part seek post-retirement employment with a not-for-profit organization that provides training and support services to prosecutors?

Opinion 13-38 May a judge, in his/her capacity as a parent, express his/her concerns about the conduct of his/her child's public school teacher by (a) signing a petition addressed to the principal, along with other parents; (b) speaking directly with the teacher; and (c) writing to the principal about the teacher?

Opinion 13-40 May a judge serve on an award selection committee for an award ceremony and reception for members of the legal profession, where the event is hosted at a law school and is co-sponsored by certain bar associations and local business entities?

Opinion 13-41 May a judge who is a defendant in federal court in his/her official capacity based on his/her prior judicial acts in a particular case (1) continue to preside over any additional proceedings which come before him/her in the particular case, (2) preside over other matters in which the judge's federal court co-defendants or their counsel appear, and (3) appoint an attorney who is the judge’s co-defendant in the federal court case to Part 36 or other appointments?

Opinion 13-42 May a justice court advertise for local not-for-profit organizations willing to accept court placements of defendants to serve community service sentences?

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November 12, 2013 Broadcast

Opinion 13-07 May a part-time judge accept appointment as a volunteer member of a legislatively established statewide council which reviews inmate grievances?

Opinion 13-11 May a part-time judge permit his/her name and likeness to be used in advertising his/her law practice?

Opinion 13-12 May a Family Court judge serve on the advisory board of the children's rights division of a not-for-profit organization?

Opinion 13-13 May a judge participate in a focus group of "key leaders" in the community convened by a school district's consultant, who is preparing a report analyzing local truancy and possible solutions, where the focus group will not establish or carry out policy or hear or determine any individual cases?

Opinion 13-17 May a judge sign a legislator's petition regarding a proposed change in the law, where the petition is framed as a partisan political initiative designed to garner statements of public support for the individual legislator?

Opinion 13-18 May a judge make a charitable donation and permit the charity to acknowledge the donation by displaying a sign bearing the judge's name and judicial title during the charity's fundraising golf outing?

Opinion 13-22 May a judge who is not in his/her window period for election participate in a politically sponsored sporting event in which one local political party's team will compete against another local political party's team, where the purpose of the event is to improve both parties' public image?

Opinion 13-23 May a part-time town justice accept appointment to the compensated part-time position of historian for the same municipality in which he/she presides?

Opinion 13-28 May a judge permit a town supervisor to also serve as a security officer for the town court?

Opinion 13-29 May a full-time judge accept an invitation to speak at the annual conference of a not-for-profit association of legal and financial professionals involved in the structured settlement payment transfer process, and permit the association to pay the judge's reasonable travel and lodging expenses?

Opinion 13-31 May a judge agree to be interviewed for an article in the local weekly newspaper about the judge's background as a police officer, prosecutor and judge?


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