June 9, 2005
Digest: It is not unethical for a part-time justice to be employed as an investigator in the Inspector General’s Office of the Unified Court System, involved in fiduciary appointment matters, but the holding of both positions is subject to the approval of the Chief Administrative Judge.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 50.3 ;100.6(B)(4); UCS Announcement 1519.
A part-time town judge has applied for a position as investigator in the Inspector General’s Office of the Unified Court System. Specifically, as investigator the inquirer would be working under the supervision of the Managing Inspector General for Fiduciary Appointments and would participate in investigations into such areas as the “failure to comply with fiduciary rules, misconduct, fraud and abuse by court appointed fiduciaries.” (UCS Announcement 1519). The justice asks if there is a conflict of interest in holding both positions.
The Committee concludes there is no ethical rule that would preclude the justice from serving in the position, as described. The position does not carry peace officer status, and there appears to be no incompatibility between the two positions so as to give rise to a claim under section 100.6(B)(4) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct, which prohibits dual employment which is incompatible with judicial office or interferes with the proper performance of judicial duties. 22 NYCRR 100.6(B)(4).
However, as an investigator the inquirer would be an employee of the Unified Court System. To hold that position and be employed simultaneously as a town justice would, under §50.3 of the Rules of the Chief Judge, require the Chief Administrative Judge’s approval (22 NYCRR 50.3), an administrative determination outside this Committee’s purview.