Opinion 95-150

December 14, 1995


Digest:         A full-time judge should not serve as an Advisory Committee member of an organization that appears in court on behalf of defendants but may serve as an Advisory Committee member of an organization that addresses national issues of alcohol abuse.


Rules:          22 NYCRR 100.1, 100.2, 100.5(b)(1)


         The inquiring judge asks whether service as an Advisory Committee member for two organizations is permissible. One organization (“Council”) addresses "national issues involving alcohol abuse" and will be announcing a national education program to develop awareness of the risks of alcohol abuse. The other organization ("Association") focuses on correctional institutions and alternatives to incarceration. "Its object is to provide services and programs to both incarcerated individuals and their families with the goal of turning recidivists into productive members of society."

         The Committee notes that the latter organization ("Association") appears in the criminal courts and takes positions concerning defendants. Under such circumstances, the judge should not be a member of that organization's Advisory Committee. Rule 100.5(b)(I) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct, states that a judge should not provide such service to an organization where it is likely that it will be engaged in adversary proceedings or may be appearing in the judge's court.

         The Committee sees no ethical objection to the judge serving as an Advisory Committee member of the organization dealing with alcohol abuse (“Council”), as that group, in contrast with the other, does not appear to take advocacy positions in the courts.