Opinion 21-57

May 19, 2021

Dear :

         This responds to your inquiry (21-57) asking whether you may accept an invitation to speak as a guest lecturer for a criminal justice course offered through the Board of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES). You would only discuss procedural aspects of the law and would not discuss any pending or impending cases.

         The Committee has repeatedly advised that a judge may lecture and teach on matters relating to the law and the administration of justice especially where, as here, the audience is a general one. However, the judge’s participation is subject to certain limitations of speech and conduct, including the public comment rule. In addition, the judge must not make remarks which would cast doubt on their impartiality and must avoid any appearance of impropriety. Accordingly, it is permissible to be a guest lecturer to discuss criminal procedure in the court system, subject to these limitations.

         Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 15-93 and 13-140 which address this issue.

                                                      Very truly yours,

                                                      Margaret T. Walsh

                                                      Committee Co-Chair

                                                      Supreme Court Justice

                                                      Lilian Wan

                                                      Committee Co-Chair

                                                      Acting Supreme Court Justice