April 28, 1994
Digest: A town justice who has received a political party's nomination for County Court judge may use the term “Judge” on lawn signs, billboards and other campaign literature, but may not use the word “re-elect.”
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.2(a), Canon 7(B)(1)(c) of the Code of Judicial Conduct
A part-time town justice who has received a political party's nomination for County Court judge inquires if he/she may use the term “Judge” on lawn signs, billboards and other campaign literature.
Pursuant to 22 NYCRR 100.2(a), a judge must conduct himself/herself in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judicial system. Canon 7(B)(1)(c) of the Code of Judicial Conduct allows a judicial candidate to state his/her qualifications but not to misrepresent them. Here, by using the term "Judge", the part-time judge is not misrepresenting himself/herself. A judge is a judge, whether he/she is serving full-time or part-time.
Thus, it is the opinion of the Committee that since a part-time town justice is a judge, use of the term “Judge” on his /her campaign literature is permissible. However, the judge should be aware that the use of the word “re-elect” may be construed as a misrepresentation, since he/she is seeking a different judicial office than the one presently occupied. Accordingly, the word “re-elect” should not be used.