July 20, 2017
This responds to your inquiry (17-63) asking whether you may form a company to manufacture and sell custom-made robes to other judges online. You have stated you are a part-time judge. Your name and likeness would not appear on the company’s website, and customers could order the robes either directly through the company’s website or through an established online retailer.
A full-time justice is prohibited from serving as an active participant of any business entity (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[D]). However, a part-time judge is not subject to this prohibition and may engage in private employment that is not incompatible with judicial office and which does not conflict or interfere with the proper performance of the judge’s duties (see 22 NYCRR 100.6[B]). In addition, the judge must not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance his/her own private interests or the private interests of others (see 22 NYCRR 100.2[C]). Subject to these provisos, the proposed enterprise is ethically permissible, unless an exception applies.
In the event you become a full-time judge, you may wish to inquire further as to whether you may continue to participate in this enterprise.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 12-19 and 88-97 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Div., First Dep’t (Ret.)
Hon. Margaret T. Walsh
Family Court Judge
Acting Justice, Supreme Court