December 12, 2013
Digest: Because the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct do not require an administrative judge to inform another judge that he/she has received a copy of a disciplinary complaint filed against the other judge, that decision is left entirely to the administrative judge’s discretion.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.2(A); 100.3(C)(1); 100.3(D)(1), (3); 101.1.
The inquiring administrative judge states he/she received a letter from an attorney enclosing a copy of a complaint filed against another judge with the Commission on Judicial Conduct. The administrative judge inquires whether he/she must inform the other judge of the disciplinary complaint.
A judge must always act to promote public confidence in the judiciary’s integrity and impartiality (see 22 NYCRR 100.2[A]), must diligently discharge the judge’s administrative responsibilities without bias or prejudice (see 22 NYCRR 100.3[C]), and, under some circumstances, may be required to report another judge to the Commission on Judicial Conduct in the discharge of his/her disciplinary responsibilities (see generally 22 NYCRR 100.3[D], ).
However, the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct do not contain any provision requiring an administrative judge to inform another judge that he/she has received a copy of a disciplinary complaint filed against the other judge.
The Committee is authorized to issue opinions to judges “related to ethical conduct, proper execution of judicial duties, and possible conflicts between private interests and official duties” (22 NYCRR 101.1). Absent any applicable provision of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct, the Committee concludes that it is within the sole discretion of the administrative judge to disclose or withhold the information about the other judge.