August 25, 2014
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
This responds to your inquiry (14-99) asking about what types of topics you are ethically permitted to discuss on a local radio station and public access shows.
A judge may engage in extra-judicial activities, subject to certain limitations (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[A], [B]). For example, the Committee has determined that a judge may appear on a monthly television news show to answer questions on a predetermined topic relating to the criminal justice system as long as the comments are factual and instructive regarding procedure and do not pertain to any pending matters; host a TV show provided he/she does not comment on pending cases, indicate a predisposition in a particular case, and acts in a dignified manner; and write a weekly column about the law, as long as it does not interfere with judicial duties or cast doubt on the judge’s partiality.
Enclosed, for your convenience are Opinions 10-102; 89-146; and 88-133 which relate to this issue. Also enclosed is a copy of the 2013 edition of the Judicial Campaign Ethics Handbook which addresses campaign conduct. If you have any specific questions regarding campaign speech, you may obtain an expedited response by contacting the Judicial Campaign Ethics Center.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)