September 12, 1991
Digest: A judge may deliver a speech to the local school district's bus drivers about vehicle and traffic matters, provided the judge’s commentary does not raise questions about the judge’s impartiality with respect to any issues that may come before the judge.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §100.4(a).
A part-time judge inquires whether it is permissible to speak to the local school district's bus drivers regarding the Vehicle and Traffic Law as it pertains to the drivers.
Section 100.4(a) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator states that, “[a] judge may speak, write, lecture, teach and participate in other activities concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice”, provided that the activity “does not cause doubt” on the judge’s capacity to impartially decide issues that may come before the judge.
The judge may speak to the school bus drivers, provided that the lecture does not interfere with the judge’s regular judicial duties, and provided that the judge does not express opinions or present the topic in a way that would indicate that the judge has a predisposition with respect to particular cases, which could cast doubt on the judge’s impartiality. The judge should not give an opinion on any pending case. See also Committee Opinion 88-106, Vol. II.