September 12, 1991
Digest: A judge should recuse himself or herself in a case where the defendant is the judge’s opponent in the upcoming judicial elections.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §000.3(c).
A part-time judge asks whether a judge may preside over a criminal case involving a zoning law violation, where one of the defendants is running against the judge in the upcoming election. The case is ready for trial.
Section 100.3(c)(1) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator states that a judge “shall disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which his or her impartiality might reasonably be questioned”. In the circumstances of this case, the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, given that a defendant is the judge’s political opponent in an active campaign. Accordingly, the judge should recuse himself or herself.