July 31, 2013
Dear Justice :
This responds to your inquiry (13-93) asking whether you may obtain a “Watch Guard Patrol License” and operate your own security agency. You advise that you would provide unarmed and armed security services, but not within the geographic jurisdiction of the court where you preside. The services would include patrolling car dealership parking lots, businesses, residences, special events (concerts, festivals), executive protection, and risk management/security consultation.
A part-time judge may accept private employment which is not incompatible with judicial office and does not conflict or interfere with the proper performance of the judge’s duties (see 22 NYCRR 100.6[B]).
The Committee previously has advised that a part-time judge may not accept employment where the judge’s duties closely resemble those performed by law enforcement officers (see Opinions 08-194 [armed and unarmed security services for local municipalities]; 96-39 [Vol. XIV] [Special Deputy U.S. Marshal]; Joint Opinion 09-210/09-228 [Magnetometer Screening Officer for city police department and Transportation Security Officer for Department of Homeland Security]).
However, the Committee also has advised that a part-time judge may accept private employment with a private security firm to work as a security guard at a warehouse(see Opinion 11-11) and as a security officer at a community college (see Opinion 05-73). In both Opinions, the Committee noted that neither position would confer peace or police officer status, and in Opinion 11-11, that the judge would have no authority to make arrests.
As you would be self-employed as a security guard, it appears that you also would not have police or peace officer status or the authority to make arrests. Nor do the duties you describe closely resemble those performed by law enforcement officers. Therefore, it is ethically permissible for you to form and operate your own security agency, and to provide the security services you describe, subject to the limitations set forth in the cited Opinions.
I have enclosed a copy of Opinions 11-11, 08-194, 05-73, 96-39, and Joint Opinion 09-210/09-228 for your convenience.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)