June 3, 2011
This responds to your inquiry (11-53) asking whether it is ethically permissible to utilize the services of a police officer, employed by the town in which you preside, who earns extra money as a driver/chauffeur.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct prohibit a judge from engaging in financial and business dealings that “involve the judge in frequent transactions or continuing business relationships with ... persons likely to come before the court on which the judge serves” (22 NYCRR 100.4[D][c]). Since you are both employed by the same town, it is likely that employing the officer’s private driving services would run afoul of this Rule. Consequently, such employment would be ethically prohibited.
Enclosed, for your convenience, is Opinion 09-53 which addresses this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)