April 28, 2015
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
This responds to your inquiry (15-28) asking whether you may designate different areas of your courtroom for the seating of particular groups of individuals, i.e., defendants, witnesses, police/peace officers, attorneys, and agency members who provide court-related services.
While the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct provide that “a judge must require order and decorum” in the courtroom (22 NYCRR 100.3[B]), the subject of your inquiry is primarily administrative and legal in nature. Because the Committee is authorized to answer questions concerning only judicial ethics (see 22 NYCRR 101.1), such legal and administrative questions are outside the scope of the Committee’s jurisdiction, and, therefore, the Committee cannot respond (see Judiciary Law §212[l]).
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)