September 19, 1988
Topic: May a person employed by the Department of Motor Vehicles as an administrative law judge also serve as acting village justice?
Digest: A part-time village justice may also be employed in a state department or agency provided that such employment is compatible with judicial office and does not conflict or interfere with the proper performance of the judge's duties.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §§100.3(d); 100.5(h)
An administrative law judge employed by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles inquires if he may also serve as acting village justice in a municipality which is not within his jurisdiction as administrative law judge.
Section 100.5(h) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator of the Courts states that a part-time judge may also be employed at a state department or agency provided that the employment is compatible with judicial office and does not conflict or interfere with the proper performance of the judge's duties.
The administrative law judge's jurisdiction covers an area which does not include the county in which the village court lies. Because of the separation of jurisdictions, there seems to be no incompatibility or conflict between the two positions. Were any conflict or appearance of impropriety to arise from the village justice's concurrent state employment, he would be required to recuse himself or fully disclose the relevant relationship to the parties for their determination of his continuing participation in the case in accordance with Canon 3D of the Code of Judicial Conduct, and section 100.3(d) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator of the Courts [22 NYCRR].
Of course, this opinion addresses only the area of judicial ethics and does not address whatever policies or rules may be adopted in the area of dual employment by the State Department of Motor Vehicles.
This Opinion is advisory only and does not bind either the Office of Court Administration or the Commission on Judicial Conduct.