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Requesting an Opinion


Formal Inquiries: The Basics | Deadline Policy | Timing Guidelines | Expedited Responses
Informal Inquiries: By Telephone

The Advisory Committee can only respond to inquiries from New York State judges and others subject to Part 100 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator of the Courts (22 NYCRR part 100), about the propriety of their own prospective conduct under the Rules.

 

Formal Written Inquiries

Judiciary Law §212(2)(l) provides that any action a judge takes in accordance with a formal written advisory opinion of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics is "presumed proper" for purposes of any subsequent investigation by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

To submit an inquiry for consideration, please mail your request (together with all supporting materials and two telephone numbers in case the Committee needs to contact you) to:

Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics
c/o Laura L. Smith, Esq., Chief Counsel
25 Beaver Street, Room 866
New York, NY 10004
Tel: 1-866-79-JUDGE (or 1-866-795-8343)

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General Guidelines:

  • Frame your inquiry in terms of your own proposed conduct (for example, "May I do such-and-such?" or "Must I do such-and-such?"). Be concrete, rather than abstract, wherever possible. The Committee cannot address hypothetical questions.
  • Include two alternative phone numbers so that the Committee can easily reach you after hours. It may be necessary for the Committee to clarify facts or circumstances before providing the requested guidance.
  • Include copies of all relevant supporting materials. If you are uncertain which materials will be relevant, or if your supporting materials are likely to exceed five pages, please call Laura L. Smith, Esq. at 212-428-2504 to discuss.
  • Please make every effort to mail the inquiry at least two weeks before a scheduled meeting, so that it will be received at least 10 days in advance of the meeting.
  • You must provide your original signed inquiry to the Committee. (E-mailed inquiries are not accepted, and will not be presented to the Committee for consideration.)

New Deadline Policy:

Absent a demonstration of truly urgent and exigent circumstances, any inquiry that is not received at least 10 days before a scheduled meeting will automatically be deferred for consideration at the next regularly scheduled meeting. This policy has become necessary in light of the large number of inquiries the Committee typically receives, as well as an increasing number of last-minute inquiries.

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Timing Guidelines:

The Committee makes every effort to consider and decide each written inquiry at the next regularly scheduled meeting, as long as the inquiry is received at least 10 days before a scheduled meeting date.

We realize that some inquirers need an expedited response. If your inquiry is time-sensitive, please let us know so that we can do our best to give it appropriate priority in our discussions.

Expedited Responses:
  • If you need an expedited response from the Committee, please explain in your inquiry why it is time-sensitive.
    • You may then call the Chair or Chief Counsel after the meeting to find out the disposition of your inquiry.
  • If your particular inquiry involves your campaign conduct, you may obtain expedited consideration simply by contacting the Judicial Campaign Ethics Center, which is set up to provide expedited written responses to judicial candidates.

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Informal Guidance by Telephone

Those subject to the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct may call 1-866-79-JUDGE [58343] for informal guidance. Inquirers may also call Hon. George D. Marlow (Chair) at 1-845-454-2125; Hon. Edward P. Borrelli (Special Counsel) at 1-914-824-5329; Laura L. Smith, Esq. (Chief Counsel) at 1-212-428-2504; and other Committee members or other staff counsel for assistance.

We encourage you to call us, and we actively welcome these phone calls so that we can assist you. However, it is best for you to speak with us directly; please do not delegate this function to support staff. Unless your inquiry is unambiguously covered by a specific rule and one or more prior opinions, significant facts and circumstances may come to light only when we discuss an inquiry directly with the inquiring judge.

Although informal guidance and discussions by telephone can often be very helpful to the inquiring judge, please note that such discusions do not provide the protections of Judiciary Law §212(2)(l).

 

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Policy on E-Mailed Communications

The Committee does not accept formal or informal inquiries via e-mail.

E-mail is permitted only for judicial campaign ethics inquiries; the Judicial Campaign Ethics Center is authorized to accept written inquiries concerning judicial campaign ethics issues by e-mail, fax, or regular mail.