NOTE: See also Joint Opinion 07-185, 08-68 and 08-77
Digest: A copy of a weekly court calendar containing the names, addresses, dates of birth and sentences imposed should not be provided by the court to a local newspaper.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.1, 100.3
The inquiring judge informs the Committee that a local newspaper published the names of persons in the immediate area who have been “arrested and/or charged with violations of law and . . . the dispositions.” The judge asks the following question:
Is it ethical for Village and Town Justices to provide the newspaper with a copy of that weekly case calendar with names, addresses, date of birth and the sentence imposed, in order to ease the reporter’s chore in searching police records or as a means of “public relations”?
On the fact provided, the Committee is of the view that the judges should not be engaged in the task of providing the information to the newspaper in the form requested. Although the information that is intended to be published may be in the public domain, in whole or in part, the providing of such a document with knowledge of its intended publication could have an impact on the impartial performance of judicial duties and the independence of the judiciary. Under such circumstances, the Committee believes that the better course is not to provide a copy of the document. 22 NYC 100.1, 100.3.