March 28, 2012
Note: Pursuant to a memorandum from the Chief Administrative Judge dated April 20, 2011, JHOs may “apply for temporary removal of their names from any or all of their assigned panels, subject to reinstatement by the Chief Administrator at a later date. During this period of temporary removal, JHOs will be free to receive Part 36 assignments, and may participate as counsel in contested matters in courts where they previously served on a panel."
This responds to your inquiry (11-38) asking whether the Committee’s prior Opinion 00-117 remains effective for the duration of the suspension of the Office of Court Administration’s JHO program. Opinion 00-117 provides that a Judicial Hearing Officer (JHO) who serves of counsel to a law firm is prohibited from advising his/her partners and associates regarding contested matters that are commenced in a court in which the JHO has been designated to serve on the JHO panel.
In the Committee’s view, a JHO designated pursuant to Part 122 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator who neither receives appointments nor volunteers to serve as a JHO while the JHO program is suspended, should not be subject to the limitations set forth in Opinion 00-117. Therefore, the Committee hereby retracts Opinion 00-117 and any other opinions that impose such limitations while the JHO program is suspended. However, Opinion 00-117 and any other such opinions are deemed re-issued and effective on the date that the Office of Court Administration re-instates the JHO program.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)