July 11, 2013
This responds to your inquiry (13-90) asking to what extent, should you be elected to judicial office, your ability to preside in a county department’s cases would be affected where your second degree relative is the only department attorney who handles a certain class of cases. You recognize you would be barred from presiding in a case where your relative was involved.
Thus, you have correctly noted it would be impermissible to preside where your relative has any involvement (see Opinion 11-131). However, your relative’s employment would not necessarily bar you from presiding in other department cases where your relative is not involved, assuming you can be fair and impartial and the facts of a particular case do not dictate otherwise (see Opinions 11-57; 09-220; 89-127).
I have enclosed a copy of Opinions 11-57, 09-220 and 89-127 for your convenience.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)