Opinion 04-16

March 11, 2004


Digest:         A candidate for Supreme Court, who formerly held the position of Village Justice, may use the phrase “Former Village Justice” and may appear wearing judicial robes in photographs for the use with that designation in campaign literature.


Rule:            22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(2)(ii); 100.5(A)(4)(d)(iii); Opinion 94-50 (Vol. XII).


         A candidate for Supreme Court who formerly served as a Village Justice asks if it is permissible in campaign literature to use the phrase “Former Village Justice” and include a photograph wearing judicial robes for use with the designation.

         The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct permit a judge or non-judge who is a candidate for public election to judicial office to appear in and distribute campaign literature supporting the judge’s candidacy, but preclude misrepresentation of the identity, qualifications, current position or other fact concerning the candidate. [22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(2)(ii), (4)(d)(iii)]. A judicial candidate is also allowed to state his/her qualifications but not to misrepresent them. The use of the term “Former Village Justice” appropriately identifies the inquirer, and his or her past judicial position is clearly relevant to the judge’s qualifications. The use of the phrase is not a misrepresentation nor is it in anyway misleading. Accordingly, it maybe used in the campaign literature. See, Opinion 94-50 (Vol. XII). In addition, it would not be improper for the candidate, under these circumstances, to appear wearing a judicial robe.