April 27, 1995
Digest: A judge may preside over a murder case even though the judge’s law clerk had previously represented the defendant as a law guardian and is presently a partner of the defendant’s attorney, but the law clerk may not have any involvement in the matter.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.1; 100.2; 100.3(b)(2), (c)(i).
A County Court Judge makes the following inquiry:
I wish to inquire about hearing a murder case in which the defendant was previously represented by my court appointed attorney as a law guardian in Family Court. The defendant is accused of killing a foster parent. My law clerk assisted in placing the defendant in foster care with the victim. Additionally, the defendant’s attorney and my law clerk are partners in a law practice. May I properly hear this case if I do not involve my court attorney in any way?
The Committee is of the opinion that the judge may hear the case, but the law clerk may not have anything to do with the matter.