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Judicial Ethics Quiz


For a fun way to test your ethics instincts, try taking this true/false quiz. Don't worry, nobody is keeping score. Just write down your own answers, then compare with the answer key at the end to see how you did.


1. True/False: At a friend’s or former law clerk’s request, a judge may write a letter of recommendation on his/her official judicial letterhead for use as part of an application for employment. (Need a hint?)

2. True/False: A full-time judge may act in a community theater. (Need a hint?)

3. True/False: A full-time judge may accept reasonable compensation for teaching a business law course at a private university. (Need a hint?)

4. True/False: A judge may give a seminar to police officers who act as prosecutors in certain traffic cases on how to prosecute such cases successfully. (Need a hint?)

5. True/False: A judge may teach a Vehicle and Traffic Law class at a local community college to aspiring police officers. (Need a hint?)

6. True/False: Judges may comment on a case pending in another state, if they restrict their discussion to facts that have been reported by the media. (Need a hint? Check out 22 NYCRR 100.3(B)(8).)

7. True/False: A judge may lecture on recent Court of Appeals criminal law decisions at a Continuing Legal Education program sponsored jointly by the local Criminal Bar Association and Legal Aid Society. (Need a hint?)

8. True/False: Judges must disclose their reasons for recusal. (Need a hint?)

9. True/False: A judge must recuse him/herself when a lawyer appearing before the judge had previously testified during a disciplinary proceeding as a witness for the judge. (Need a hint?)

10. True/False: A judge must report an attorney’s or another judge’s apparent misconduct to appropriate disciplinary authorities if the judge believes the conduct constitutes a “substantial violation” of the Code of Professional Responsibility or the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct. (Need a hint? Check out 22 NYCRR 100.3(D)(1)-(2).)

11. True/False: If a judge reports misconduct of an attorney to a Grievance Committee, (s)he should exercise recusal in all matters where the attorney appears before the judge while the complaint is pending before the Grievance Committee, but should not disclose the reasons for recusal. (Need a hint?)

12. True/False: Judges may avoid recusals due to their financial holdings by not staying informed about their finances. (Need a hint? Check out 22 NYCRR 100.3(E)(2) and 100.4(D)(4).)

13. True/False: A judge who was previously in private practice must recuse him/herself for two years from any matter brought by his/her prior firm, even if (s)he was not personally involved in the matter. (Need a hint?)

14. True/False: A judge may testify as a character witness before a sentencing court, grievance committee or the Commission on Judicial Conduct only pursuant to a subpoena. (Need a hint? Check out 22 NYCRR 100.2(C).)

How did you do? Check the Answer Key.