August 9, 2012
This responds to your inquiry (12-90) asking whether you may attend the wedding of a former colleague who regularly appears before you in court and what your ethical obligations would be if you attend the wedding and give a gift.
There is no ethical prohibition to attending the wedding and giving a gift to your former colleague. However, when your former colleague appears before you in court, your ethical obligations depend on the particular nature of your relationship outside the courtroom. Enclosed, for your convenience, is Opinion 11-125 which defines in detail the specific categories of social relationships between judges and lawyers (i.e. acquaintance, close social relationship, close personal relationship) and delineates when such relationship triggers specific disclosure or disqualification obligations.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)