January 20, 2010
This responds to your inquiry (09-226) asking whether it is ethically permissible for members of a local magistrates’ association to urge that association to petition the state legislature to repeal legislation mandating the collection of surcharges in local courts.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct permit a judge to express his/her views concerning matters which seek to improve the law, the legal system or the administration of justice (see 22 NYCRR 100.5[A][iii]). Accordingly, subject to certain limitations as set forth in Opinions 08-09 and 08-73, enclosed for your convenience, it is ethically permissible to send the letter.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow
Justice of the Supreme Court (Ret.)