April 27, 1995
Digest: A part-time judge who also is a practicing attorney, may not write a letter of reference to the sheriff in connection with the application of a long-time client for a pistol permit.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.2(c)
A part-time judge, who also practices law, asks whether a letter of recommendation may be written on behalf of a long-time client in support of the clients’s application for a pistol permit. The application is being submitted to the sheriff in the county where the judge both sits as a judge and practices law. The letter of recommendation would not mention the judge’s judicial office and would be written “as an attorney on the attorney’s letterhead.”
In the opinion of the Committee the proposed letter of recommendation should not be written. Section 100.2(c) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator provides that “A judge should not lend the prestige of his or her office to advance the private interests of others nor shall any judge convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence him or her.” It is the view of the Committee that the proposed letter comes too close to violating that prohibition and therefore should not be sent.