Opinion 96-117

December 12, 1996


Digest:         A judge may not, at the request of a judge seeking reappointment, submit a letter in support of reappointment to the Mayor’s Committee on the Judiciary, but may respond to any inquiry that might be made by the Committee regarding reappointment.


Rule:            22 NYCRR 100.2(C)


         A judge has been asked by another judge to write a letter to the Mayor’s Committee on the Judiciary urging reconsideration of the Committee’s recommendation regarding the latter’s reappointment. The inquiring judge asks if the sending of such a letter is ethically permissible.

         Section 100.2 (C) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct (22 NYCRR 100.2(C)) states:


A judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others; nor shall a judge convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge. A judge shall not testify voluntarily as a character witness.

         It is the Committee’s opinion that the inquiring judge may not voluntarily submit a letter on behalf of the judge to the Mayor’s Committee on the Judiciary. To do so would be akin to testifying as a character witness. However, should the Committee on the Judiciary make inquiry to the judge concerning reappointment, the judge is free to respond.