November 1, 2012
This responds to your inquiry (12-139) asking whether it is ethically permissible for you and your co-judges to serve as members of an Alternatives to Incarceration advisory board.
Judges are permitted to participate in a variety of civic activities which do not “cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially” and do not “interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties” (22 NYCRR 100.4[A], ). In addition, judges may serve on governmental committees which are “devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system or the administration of justice” (22 NYCRR 100.4[C]). Moreover, the Committee notes that the pertinent provision of the Executive Law requires this type of advisory committee to include judges (see Executive Law 261).
Accordingly, notwithstanding the expanded scope of the advisory committee to include “identification and availability of resources,” it is ethically permissible for you and your co-judges to serve as members of the board.
Enclosed, for your convenience, is Opinion 92-53 which is directly on point.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)