June 13, 1996
Digest: A judge whose children are assistant district attorneys in the large, urban county where the judge sits, is not disqualified from presiding in a criminal part, provided that there is no appearance of the children before the judge and there has been no participation by them in any matter that comes before the judge.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.2(B); Opinions 89-127; 90-5.
An Administrative Judge seeks an opinion of the Committee concerning the assignment of a judge to criminal term, where that judge has children employed as assistant district attorneys in the same county. At issue is section 100.2(b) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct which states that “A judge shall not allow family, social, political or other relationships to influence the judge’s judicial conduct or judgment.”
It is the Committee’s view that section 100.2(b) is not breached by the judge continuing to serve in criminal cases. Clearly, the children may not appear before the judge and the judge’s children should not have participated in the handling of any matter that comes before the judge. Further, the judge is not obligated to disclose in each case that comes before the court, the children’s employment. The Committee notes that the court where the judge presides is in a large, urban county. See Opinions 89-127 and 90-5.