Digest: A part-time town justice who practices law should not accept referrals of appeals from the District Attorney of the county.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.6 (B) (4); Opinion 90-188
A part-time town justice who practices law inquires whether his/her firm may accept referrals of appeals from the District Attorney of the county in which the town is located.
Rule 100.6 (B) (4) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct states that a part-time judge may accept employment which “is not incompatible with judicial office and does not conflict or interfere with the proper performance of the judge’s duties.” The Committee has previously stated that this provision prohibits a part-time judge from accepting employment as an assistant district attorney because “District Attorneys have a special relationship with the police and law enforcement authorities” (Opinion 90-188). For the purpose of applying Rule 100.6 (B)(4), the Committee sees no substantive distinction between representing the People of the State of New York as a regularly employed assistant district attorney, and representing the People of the State of New York on an appeal referred by the District Attorney. This would apply even if the judge’s law partner or associate does the legal work in the matter.