March 9, 2006
Digest: A judge may teach a New York State Fire Police training course, subject to certain limitations.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.2(A); 100.3(B)(8); 100.4(B); Opinions 98-73 (Vol. XVII); 96-44 (Vol. XIV); 95-121 (Vol. XIII).
A judge inquires as to the propriety of teaching a New York State Fire Police training course. The course focuses on the organization of fire police squads, their duties and responsibilities, safety, and laws pertaining to the fire police position.
The Committee concludes that the judge may teach the proposed course, subject to certain cautions. The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct permit a judge to “speak, write, lecture, teach and participate in extra-judicial activities subject to the requirements of this Part.” 22 NYCRR 100.4(B). In prior opinions, this Committee has permitted a judge to teach a Vehicle and Traffic Law class to aspiring police officers at a local community college and permitted a judge to participate in a panel discussion sponsored by a sheriff’s department as part of its training, for the purpose of explaining the procedures and operations of the court. Opinions 98-73 (Vol. XVII); 96-44 (Vol. XIV). The Committee finds the proposed fire police course is closely analogous, and thus permissible. The judge may not discuss any pending or impending cases, however, and must exercise care to avoid any perception of partiality or of a predisposition to decide matters in a particular way. 22 NYCRR 100.2(A); 100.3(B)(8). Additionally, the judge may not advise the fire police officers in attendance how to obtain convictions. Opinion 95-121 (Vol. XIII).
Subject to the limitations stated above, the judge may teach the New York State Fire Police training course.