Digest: A town judge, who is permitted to practice law, may not represent a litigant in a Family Court proceeding involving an order of protection issued by the same town judge.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.6(B)(2).
A town judge, who is permitted to practice law, presided over the application of a family offense complainant for an order of protection. After a series of communications and attempted communications by the complaint with the judge, the judge recused himself/herself from further participation in the proceeding. The complainant then asked the inquirer to act as co-counsel in a Family Court proceeding which involves the interaction of the order of protection issued in the Town Court with an order of protection awarded to the complainant’s spouse by the Family Court. The judge asks if it is proper to act as co-counsel for the complainant in the Family Court proceeding.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct prohibit a part-time judge from acting as a lawyer in a proceeding in which the judge has served as a judge or in any other proceeding related thereto. 22 NYCRR 100.6(B)(2). Since the judge presided over the complainant’s application for an order of protection in the Town Court, the judge may not, thereafter, represent the complainant in the Family Court proceeding which is related to the issuance of the order of protection in the Town Court.