January 25, 2007
Digest: A full-time judge may not simultaneously serve as a County Traffic Violations Bureau hearing officer.
Rules: NY Const. Art. 6 §20(b)(1), 22 NYCRR 100.3(A); 100.4(H)(1)(c)(1); Opinion 03-130; Joint Opinion 98-07 and 98-24 (Vol. XVI).
A newly-elected Family Court Judge asks whether he/she may continue to sit on the County Traffic Violations Bureau, a position which the judge held prior to being elected as a full-time judge. The judge served as a hearing officer at the Traffic Bureau while also serving as a part-time Village Justice.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct prohibit a full-time judge from receiving compensation for extra-judicial activities performed for or on behalf of New York State or its political subdivisions. 22 NYCRR 100.4(H)(1)(c)(1). The clear intent of this rule is to prohibit full-time judges from participating in other compensated governmental activity which would prevent the judge from devoting full efforts to his/her full-time judicial responsibilities. 22 NYCRR 100.3(A); Joint Opinion 98-07 and 98-24 (Vol. XVI); see also Opinion 03-130.
In addition, pursuant to the New York State Constitution, Article 6, §20(b)(1), a Family Court Judge is prohibited from holding any other public office.
Therefore, the Committee concludes that a full-time judge may not simultaneously serve as a County Traffic Violations Bureau hearing officer.