December 12, 1996
Digest: A judge may preside at a public school sponsored mock trial designed to familiarize school children with the functions of the courts.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.3 (B)(8); 100.4(A) and (B)
A town justice has been asked to serve as the judge in mock trials to be held in the local public schools. The judge asks if it is permissible to accept these invitations and preside over the mock trials.
A judge may speak, write, lecture, teach and participate in permissible extra-judicial activities as long as those activities do not cast doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially as a judge, detract from the dignity of judicial office, and are not incompatible with judicial office or interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties. 22 NYCRR 100.4(A) and (B). A judge is also permitted to make statements explaining for public information, the procedures of the court. 22 NYCRR 100.3(B)(8). Therefore, there is no prohibition against a judge presiding at a public school-sponsored mock trial designed to familiarize school children with the functions of the courts. Opinion 89-66.