June 1, 2009
Dear Judge :
This responds to your inquiry (09-108) asking whether it is permissible for the New York Chapter of the National Association of Women Judges to lend their support to a bill in the state legislature, sign a letter urging New York State elected officials to pass a bill, and to lobby New York State elected officials to pass a bill that would grant foster care agencies the discretion to delay filing termination of parental rights papers when a parent’s incarceration or participation in a residential drug treatment program is a significant factor in why a child has been in foster care for 15 of the last 22 months. You also ask the same three questions with respect to another bill that would forbid the use of restraints on incarcerated women during labor and post-delivery recovery and restrict the use of restraints during transport to and from the hospital before and after child birth.
As the conduct described in your two inquiries relates to legislation concerning the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C]), it is all ethically permissible conduct.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 08-09; 07-68 and 06-34 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow
Justice of the Supreme Court