Opinion 22-52


April 14, 2022



Dear :


         This responds to your inquiry (22-52) asking about your obligations in matters involving an assistant district attorney (ADA) who is also the child of an attorney who is representing you in a private legal matter. You note that the ADA is not in any way associated in the practice of law with your attorney, who is a solo practitioner.


         Although a judge must disqualify in matters where the judge’s personal attorney appears, and in matters involving that attorney’s partners and associates (see e.g. Opinion 08-171/08-174), we have not required disqualification or disclosure in matters involving that attorney’s relatives who are unconnected in law practice with the judge’s attorney. In our view, a judge’s impartiality cannot “reasonably be questioned” (22 NYCRR 100.3[E][1] [emphasis added]) on this basis.


         Therefore, provided you can be fair and impartial, you may preside in cases where this ADA is the prosecuting attorney (including “calendar call[s], motions, pleas, hearings and trials”), and you need not disclose the ADA’s familial relationship with your private attorney.


         Enclosed for your reference are Opinions 08-171/08-174 and 06-95.

                                                Very truly yours,


                                                Hon. Margaret Walsh

                                                Justice of the Supreme Court

                                                Committee Co-Chair


                                               Hon. Lillian Wan

                                               Justice of the Supreme Court

                                                Committee Co-Chair