July 25, 2016
This responds to your inquiry (16-103) asking if you have any further ethical obligation to report your co-judge’s clerk for improperly purging old tickets and improperly reporting to the Traffic Safety Law Enforcement Disposition system “that the charge should be dismissed as a clerical error.” To date, you have directed that the clerk “should no longer have any contact with those files associated to [your] name” and reported the situation to the Supervising Judge and the Town Board.
Although 22 NYCRR 100.3(D) does not impose any ethical obligation on a judge who learns of “inappropriate or illegal conduct by an individual who is not a lawyer or judge” (Opinion 15-189), the Committee has previously advised that a judge is required to report “substantial and troubling irregularities on the part of the court clerk” to an appropriate administrative or supervising judge (id.). As you have done so, you have no further ethical obligation.
Enclosed, for your convenience is Opinion 15-189 which addresses this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)