October 23, 2008
Digest: A part-time non-lawyer judge may accept part-time or full-time employment with a corporation that is selling gas leases so long as the judge does not preside in matters involving his/her employer and the extra-judicial employment does not interfere with the judge’s ability to properly perform his/her judicial duties.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.2; 100.2(A); 100.2(C); 100.4(A), (1) - (3); 100.6(B)(4).
A part-time non-lawyer judge asks whether he/she may accept employment with a corporation that sells gas leases.
A judge must avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all the judge’s activities (see 22 NYCRR 100.2) and must act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary (see 22 NYCRR 100.2[A]). A judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of others (see 22 NYCRR 100.2[C]). A judge may engage in extra-judicial activities so long as they do not (1) cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially as a judge; (2) detract from the dignity of judicial office; or (3) interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties and are not incompatible with judicial officer (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[A] - ). In addition, a part-time judge may accept private employment that is not incompatible with judicial office and does not conflict or interfere with the proper performance of the judge’s duties (see 22 NYCRR 100.6[B]).
Based on the information the inquiring judge has provided, the Committee sees no apparent or inherent incompatibility between the proposed extra-judicial employment and the judge’s judicial office, nor any indication that it will conflict or interfere with the judge’s ability to perform his/her judicial duties properly(see id). Therefore, it is the Committee’s view that the judge may accept the proposed employment. However, the judge may not preside over any matters involving his/her employer and may not use his/her title or judicial office to further the employer’s business objectives (see 22 NYCRR 100.2[C]).