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Recently Broadcast Opinions

The Committee's published opinions are available here and on Westlaw. In addition, many opinions are sent to the Buffalo Law Journal, the Magistrate, the New York Daily Record, and/or the New York Law Journal.

The Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics recently issued the following opinions, which are linked below.

The Committee does not accept inquiries by e-mail. If you have a question about judicial ethics, please call the Committee at 1-866-79-JUDGE [58343] for assistance.

April 14, 2014 Broadcast

Opinion 13-71 The inquirer has become aware that another judge presided over a matter in which that judge's own current disciplinary counsel appeared; is reporting mandatory?

Opinion 13-72 May a part-time attorney/judge who occasionally performs arraignments in a neighboring municipality's court, but is not an "acting" member of that court and continues to sit as a judge of his/her own court when performing such arraignments, be included on a list of attorneys who are willing to serve as compensated arbitrators in that municipality?

Opinion 13-73 Is a not-for-profit foundation whose members are almost exclusively attorneys, and which is devoted to improvement of the law, the legal system and the administration of justice, a "bar association" for purposes of the rule permitting judges to be speakers and guests of honor at bar association fund-raising events?

Opinion 13-75 Must a judge disqualify him/herself in a criminal case on learning that the defendant filed a complaint against the judge with the Commission on Judicial Conduct?

Opinion 13-76 May a town justice include his/her judicial status: (a) in his/her law firm's advertisements; (b) in the biography he/she provides when speaking to or participating in bar association meetings; or (c) in the biography he/she provides when speaking to or participating in other groups, not related to the practice of law?

Opinion 13-77 An attorney has stated under oath that he/she falsely advised a client that the client's lawsuit was settled, and paid the client the purported settlement amount from the attorney's own personal funds; is reporting mandatory?

Opinion 13-78 May a judge permit his/her law clerk to continue working on cases prosecuted by the District Attorney's office while the law clerk is the District Attorney's opponent in the upcoming election?

Opinion 13-79 May a judge participate as a presenter at a victim impact panel in the jurisdiction where the judge presides?

Opinion 13-80 May a judge preside over matters in which the judge's summer intern's parent's law firm appears?

Opinion 13-82 May a judge teach a law school course devoted solely to an in-depth analysis of a highly publicized local criminal trial, where the time for appeal has elapsed, but a related civil case is pending?

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February 7, 2014 Broadcast

Opinion 12-180 Must a judge report a litigant and/or the litigant's attorney where the litigant asserted in an affidavit that he/she lied to the court and that his/her counsel advised him/her to do so, and in subsequent papers denied perjuring him/herself or intentionally lying to the court?

Opinion 13-59 Must a judge who has never been professionally associated with a law firm, but either has or has had social or professional relationships with two attorneys who are partners in the firm, preside when other members of the firm appear in the judge's court?

Opinion 13-60 Must a judicial candidate who has inadvertently overpaid for an upcoming political event by purchasing a sponsor-level ticket rather than a general admission ticket, and who has requested a refund of the excess payment, take any further action?

Opinion 13-61 Must a judge who concludes that an attorney has threatened to file a complaint against the judge in an effort to unduly influence the judge's judicial decision report the attorney to the disciplinary committee?

Opinion 13-62 May a judge preside over a criminal case where a prospective witness is the presiding judge's former client and a jury will hear the evidence and render a verdict?

Opinion 13-63 May a judge meet privately with the judge's state legislator to discuss pending legislation that proposes judicial upgrades for certain New York State courts?

Opinion 13-64 Is a judge's disqualification from matters involving his/her campaign treasurer's law firm subject to remittal during the judge's election campaign?

Opinion 13-65 (1) Must a judge disqualify him/herself from all cases involving the [County] Sheriff's Office because the judge’s spouse is a Sergeant with the [County] Sheriff's Office Road Patrol? (2) Must a judge disqualify him/herself from certain "dangerous dog" cases and "civil cases involving damage from dogs" as a result of the judge’s outside employment with a health department's rabies prevention and treatment program?

Opinion 13-66 May a part-time judge conduct a management study for the police department that appears in the judge's court?

Opinion 13-69 When is a judge required to report another part-time lawyer/judge for engaging in misconduct?

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January 14, 2014 Broadcast

Opinion 13-43 May a part-time judge permit a part-time assistant court clerk to also work as the assistant to the Chief of the police department that regularly appears in the judge's court?

Opinion 13-44 Is a part-time judge who previously served on a few occasions as a part-time prosecutor by designation required to disclose in criminal matters that the district attorney has revoked this designation without explanation?

Opinion 13-45 May a judge attend and be honored at a reception organized by a bar association and underwritten by one or more commercial sponsors, including a law firm that will host the reception at its offices and provide all refreshments, where the event is publicized and open generally to members of the bench and bar?

Opinion 13-46 Must a judge disqualify him/herself in matters where the county is a party, if the county is a tenant of the judge's first-degree relative?

Opinion 13-47 Must a judge disqualify him/herself solely because one of the litigants, in his/her capacity as a secretarial employee of a political party, answered the telephone when the judge called the political party's headquarters to discuss the judge's own candidacy during the applicable window period?

Opinion 13-50 Is it legal for a part-time judge, in his/her outside employment as an administrative law judge of a traffic bureau, to accept a guilty plea from a pro se defendant that includes incarceration?

Opinion 13-53 May a judge give a statement or affidavit requested by an assistant district attorney concerning a criminal case, adjudicated more than 20 years ago, in which the judge represented the defendant?

Opinion 13-54 Must a part-time judge who has adopted reasonable procedures to avoid presiding over matters in which current and recent former clients of his/her law firm appear, and then learns that he/she has nonetheless inadvertently presided over a matter in which one party was a recent former client, disclose that the defendant is a former client of the judge's law firm and/or take any other action?

Opinion 13-55 Is a judge required to report the alleged misconduct of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to the Commission on Judicial Conduct and/or to the department that employs the ALJ?

Opinion 13-58 May a part-time lawyer town justice appear as counsel in a city court which is located in the same county as the town court over which he/she presides, when he/she has accepted temporary assignments to sit in the same city court?

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December 5, 2013 Broadcast

Opinion 13-26 Is a judge required to disqualify him/herself when an attorney, who represents the judge's law clerk or secretary or who has a personal relationship with the judge's law clerk or secretary, appears in the judge's court?

Opinion 13-32 May a judge obtain the advice of a disinterested expert on the law with respect to a legal issue that is not currently before the judge but which the judge anticipates may come before him/her in the future?

Opinion 13-33 May the court advise a defendant of a police department's procedures for seeking a plea reduction?

Opinion 13-34 May a judge who presides in a criminal part lecture at an anti-violence program at a local correctional facility, where the attendees are persons who are incarcerated while either awaiting disposition of an unresolved case or awaiting sentence, and could appear before the judge as criminal defendants?

Opinion 13-35 Must a judge advise the police that a prospective tenant the judge interviewed has an open bench warrant from the court where the judge presides?

Opinion 13-36 May a judge presiding in a criminal part seek post-retirement employment with a not-for-profit organization that provides training and support services to prosecutors?

Opinion 13-38 May a judge, in his/her capacity as a parent, express his/her concerns about the conduct of his/her child's public school teacher by (a) signing a petition addressed to the principal, along with other parents; (b) speaking directly with the teacher; and (c) writing to the principal about the teacher?

Opinion 13-40 May a judge serve on an award selection committee for an award ceremony and reception for members of the legal profession, where the event is hosted at a law school and is co-sponsored by certain bar associations and local business entities?

Opinion 13-41 May a judge who is a defendant in federal court in his/her official capacity based on his/her prior judicial acts in a particular case (1) continue to preside over any additional proceedings which come before him/her in the particular case, (2) preside over other matters in which the judge's federal court co-defendants or their counsel appear, and (3) appoint an attorney who is the judge’s co-defendant in the federal court case to Part 36 or other appointments?

Opinion 13-42 May a justice court advertise for local not-for-profit organizations willing to accept court placements of defendants to serve community service sentences?

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November 12, 2013 Broadcast

Opinion 13-07 May a part-time judge accept appointment as a volunteer member of a legislatively established statewide council which reviews inmate grievances?

Opinion 13-11 May a part-time judge permit his/her name and likeness to be used in advertising his/her law practice?

Opinion 13-12 May a Family Court judge serve on the advisory board of the children's rights division of a not-for-profit organization?

Opinion 13-13 May a judge participate in a focus group of "key leaders" in the community convened by a school district's consultant, who is preparing a report analyzing local truancy and possible solutions, where the focus group will not establish or carry out policy or hear or determine any individual cases?

Opinion 13-17 May a judge sign a legislator's petition regarding a proposed change in the law, where the petition is framed as a partisan political initiative designed to garner statements of public support for the individual legislator?

Opinion 13-18 May a judge make a charitable donation and permit the charity to acknowledge the donation by displaying a sign bearing the judge's name and judicial title during the charity's fundraising golf outing?

Opinion 13-22 May a judge who is not in his/her window period for election participate in a politically sponsored sporting event in which one local political party's team will compete against another local political party's team, where the purpose of the event is to improve both parties' public image?

Opinion 13-23 May a part-time town justice accept appointment to the compensated part-time position of historian for the same municipality in which he/she presides?

Opinion 13-28 May a judge permit a town supervisor to also serve as a security officer for the town court?

Opinion 13-29 May a full-time judge accept an invitation to speak at the annual conference of a not-for-profit association of legal and financial professionals involved in the structured settlement payment transfer process, and permit the association to pay the judge's reasonable travel and lodging expenses?

Opinion 13-31 May a judge agree to be interviewed for an article in the local weekly newspaper about the judge's background as a police officer, prosecutor and judge?

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Formal and Informal Ethics Inquiries

Individuals who are subject to the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct may seek further guidance from the Advisory Committee on how to apply these and other rules and opinions to their own prospective conduct in specific circumstances.

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