Opinion 20-39

May 20, 2020

Dear :

         This responds to your inquiry (20-39) asking whether you may create generic thank you cards for your chambers, featuring a stock image of the exterior of the courthouse and bearing a message saying “Thank you” followed by your judicial title and name. You would also “include a personal note thanking an individual for some specific act,” such as juror service.

The Committee has previously advised that it is ethically permissible for a judge to write a personal letter to jurors generally thanking them for their service. However, the judge should not praise or criticize them for their verdict (see 22 NYCRR 100.3[B][10]).


While we see no ethical impropriety in using an image of the courthouse exterior, we cannot comment on copyright or other legal issues, if any, in using a third party’s photograph (see Judiciary Law 212[2][l]; 22 NYCRR 101.1). In any event, we suggest you secure appropriate permissions, if needed, before using the image.


         Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 01-36; 07-77; and 95-53 which address this issue.

                                       Very truly yours,


                                       George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice (Ret.)

                                       Appellate Div., First Dep’t

                                       Committee Co-Chair


                                       Margaret T. Walsh

                                       Supreme Court Justice

                                       Committee Co-Chair