March 14, 1991
Digest: A part-time judge may assign 18-B cases to an attorney whose relative is a member of a governing board of the municipality, provided that the judge does so on the basis of merit and fairness.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §l00.3(b)(4)
A part-time judge inquires as to the propriety of assigning a case to an attorney, presumably pursuant to Article 184 of the County Law, whose relative is a member of a governing board of the municipality.
Section 100.3(b)(4) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator states that a “judge shall exercise the power of appointment only on the basis of merit, avoiding favoritism.” While this section does not restrict a judge from assigning 18-B cases to an attorney whose relative is a member of a governing board of the municipality in which the judge sits, the judge should make such appointments on the basis of merit from an approved list of attorneys. If the appellate division or the district administrative judge or other appropriate authority has provided for a rotation system in the judge's jurisdiction, that system should, of course, be honored, although for good cause the judge may depart from the rotation system in making an assignment in a particular case. (See, Opinion No. 88-144, dated December 8, 1988, Volume III.)