April 8, 2014
This responds to your inquiry (14-38) asking whether it is ethically permissible for you to accompany your sibling, a pro-se litigant, to court in another state.
The Committee has previously determined it ethically permissible for a judge to accompany a relative to court for emotional support provided the court is not one in which he/she presides; the judge does not act as an attorney in the matter; the judge does not have any ex parte contact with the judge presiding over the matter; and the judge does not invoke his/her judicial office or otherwise lend the prestige of judicial office for his/her relative’s benefit.
Enclosed, for your convenience, is Opinion 12-143 which addresses this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)