February 26, 2014
This responds to your inquiry (13-170) asking whether it is permissible for a full-time city court judge to preside over all aspects of the civil part of the court in light of his/her spouse’s recent election to the city council.
Absent other disqualifying factors, there is no per se prohibition to a judge serving in city court when his/her spouse serves on the city council. Accordingly, unless the litigation directly involves the city council or its members as parties, a city judge, whose spouse is a city council member, may preside over cases in which the city is a party.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 09-215 and 02-42 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)