March 14, 1991
Digest: A judge should not undertake the affirmative obligation of watching for a future arraignment in order to notify a newspaper of the date.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §100.2.
A part-time judge has inquired whether it is appropriate to respond to a request by a local newspaper that the judge telephone the newspaper in the event that the judge learns of the date, time and place of the arraignment of a suspect in a well-publicized criminal case. The judge states that the police do not release information regarding arrests and arraignments until after the completion of the arraignment.
Section 100.2 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator requires that judges avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety. While the proposed telephone call would be limited to providing the newspaper only with information concerning scheduling matters, it is inappropriate for the judge to undertake the affirmative obligation of watching for a future arraignment and notifying the newspaper of the date when it comes.