April 6, 2015
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
This responds to your joint inquiry (15-41) asking about your respective ethical obligations when your co-judge’s child appears before you as an attorney. Your circumstance differs from the facts presented in Opinion 12-154 as each of you has a child who is an attorney and is likely or will appear in the court where you both preside.
The Committee has previously advised that a judge’s impartiality cannot reasonably be questioned solely because an attorney appearing before the judge is closely related to another judge of the same court. Accordingly, as long as you believe you can be fair and impartial, and absent any other factor that may require disqualification, neither disclosure nor disqualification is required if your co-judge’s child appears before you. Although in Opinion 12-154 only one judge’s child appeared in the inquirer’s court, the outcome here is the same.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)