February 24, 2020
This responds to your inquiry (20-21) asking whether you must disclose that your spouse is an assistant district attorney when your spouse’s colleagues appear on criminal matters before you. You indicate that your spouse does not hold a supervisory position with the District Attorney’s office and that any criminal matters that are pending in your court will be insulated from any review by your spouse.
The Committee has previously advised that, where a judge’s spouse is an attorney in a government law office in a non-supervisory role and the judge is satisfied that his/her spouse will be completely insulated from any matter involving that agency, the judge may preside when other attorneys from the agency appear, provided the judge can be fair and impartial. Disclosure of the attorney/spouse’s relationship to the judge, under these circumstances, is discretionary.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 18-175 and 18-27 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice (Ret.)
Appellate Div., First Dep’t
Margaret T. Walsh
Supreme Court Justice