Excerpts from the Judiciary Law relating to (a) the Committee's creation and powers and (b) statutory grounds for disqualification of a judge are provided below for your reference.
Please visit http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us to view the official text of the statute.
(a) ACJE Creation and Powers
The enabling legislation associated with the creation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics is found in Article 7-A of the Judiciary Law. The pertinent text of that statute (as of January 2009) reads as follows:
Article 7-A - JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATION
§ 212. Functions of the chief administrator of the courts.
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2. The chief administrator shall also:
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(l) Establish a panel which shall issue advisory opinions to judges and justices of the unified court system upon the request of any one judge or justice, concerning one or more issues related to ethical conduct or proper execution of judicial duties or possible conflicts between private interests and official duties.
(i) The panel shall have no executive, administrative or appointive
duties except as provided otherwise in this paragraph or in rules and
regulations adopted to implement this paragraph. The panel shall consist
of such number of members who possess such qualifications and serve for
such terms as the rules and regulations shall provide. Each member shall
serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for expenses actually
and necessarily incurred in the performance of his or her official
duties for the panel. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provisions of
this or any other law, general, special or local, no officer or employee
of the state or any public corporation, as defined in article two-A of
the general construction law, shall be deemed to have forfeited or shall
forfeit his office or employment or any benefits provided under the
retirement and social security law or under any public retirement system
maintained by the state or any of its subdivisions by reason of his or
her being a member of the panel.
(ii) The panel shall issue a written advisory opinion to the judge or
justice making the request based upon the particular facts and
circumstances of the case, which shall be detailed in the request and in
any additional material supplied by the judge or justice at the instance
of the panel. If the individual facts and circumstances provided are
insufficient in detail to enable the panel to render an advisory
opinion, the panel shall request supplementary information from the
judge or justice to enable it to render such opinion. If such
supplementary information is still insufficient or is not provided, the
panel shall so state and shall not render an advisory opinion based upon
what it considers to be insufficient detail.
(iii) Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, requests for
advisory opinions, advisory opinions issued by the panel to an
individual judge or justice of the unified court system, and the facts
and circumstances upon which they are based, shall be and remain
confidential between the panel and the individual judge or justice
making the request; provided, however, that the panel shall publish its
advisory opinion and the facts and circumstances upon which it is based
with appropriate deletions of names of persons, places and things which
might tend to identify either the judge or justice making the request or
any other judge or justice of the unified court system; and deliberations of the panel shall be and remain totally confidential.
(iv) Actions of any judge or justice of the uniform court system taken
in accordance with findings or recommendations contained in an advisory
opinion issued by the panel shall be presumed proper for the purposes of
any subsequent investigation by the state commission on judicial
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(b) Statutory Grounds for Disqualification
Certain mandatory grounds for disqualification are set forth in Section 14 of the Judiciary Law. The text of that provision (as of January 2009) reads as follows:
Article 2 - GENERAL PROVISIONS RELATING TO COURTS AND JUDGES
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§ 14. Disqualification of judge by reason of interest or
A judge shall not sit as such in, or take any part in
the decision of, an action, claim, matter, motion or proceeding to which
he is a party, or in which he has been attorney or counsel, or in which
he is interested, or if he is related by consanguinity or affinity to
any party to the controversy within the sixth degree. The degree shall
be ascertained by ascending from the judge to the common ancestor,
descending to the party, counting a degree for each person in both
lines, including the judge and party, and excluding the common ancestor.
But no judge of a court of record shall be disqualified in any action,
claim, matter, motion or proceeding in which an insurance company is a
party or is interested by reason of his being a policy holder therein.
No judge shall be deemed disqualified from passing upon any litigation
before him because of his ownership of shares of stock or other
securities of a corporate litigant, provided that the parties, by their
attorneys, in writing, or in open court upon the record, waive any claim
as to disqualification of the judge.