March 14, 1988
Topic: Judicial Appointment of Volunteer Interns Without Compensation.
Digest: Judge may appoint relative of spouse as a volunteer summer intern.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.3(b)(4)
A judge asks whether it would be proper to appoint the child of his/her spouse’s cousin’s child as an unpaid volunteer summer intern.
In our view, a volunteer summer intern of the type described who receives no compensation and takes no oath of office as a public employee, is not a member of the judge's staff as contemplated by Rule 100.7(b)(4) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator. Therefore, that Rule neither prohibits the implementation by a Judge of a volunteer intern program in connection with his/her judicial office, nor does it prohibit the judge from hiring a relative for the volunteer position.
Whether a Judge has the authority in the first instance to appoint or designate anyone in such capacity without prior approval by the Office of Court Administration presents an administrative issue which is beyond the jurisdiction of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics to determine.
This Opinion is advisory only and is not binding upon either the Office of Court Administration or the Commission on Judicial Conduct.