December 11, 1997
NOTE: Please consult Joint Opinion 08-171/08-174 before relying on this opinion.
To the extent that this opinion is inconsistent with Joint Opinion 08-171/08-174
regarding a judge's disclosure/recusal obligations when his/her personal attorney
or his/her personal attorney's partners and associates appear in the judge's court,
it is overruled.
Digest: A judge may not preside where an attorney representing the judge before the State Commission on Judicial Conduct appears in a matter before the judge. Subsequent to the conclusion of the representation there must be disclosure and in the event of objection, recusal.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.3(D)(1); Opinions: 88-120 (Vol. II); 88-143 (Vol. III); 90-169 (Vol. VI); 90-179 (Vol. VI); 92-54 (Vol. IX); 93-61 (Vol. XI).
A judge who is a full-time County Court Judge and Surrogate inquires whether a part-time member of the Public Defender's Office, who represents the judge before the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, may never appear before the judge.
Although other members of the Public Defender's Office may appear before the inquiring judge, it would be inappropriate to permit an attorney representing the judge to appear before him or her. In matters subsequent to the conclusion of the representation of the judge by the attorney, the judge should disclose the relationship to all parties in cases in which the attorney appears and the judge should recuse himself/herself if there is any objection by the attorney's adversary, in order to avoid any appearance of impropriety arising from a situation in which the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned. 22 NYCRR 100.3(D)(1); See Opinions 88-120 (Vol. II); 88-143 (Vol. III); 90-169 (Vol. VI); 90-179 (Vol. VI); 92-54 (Vol. IX); 93-61 (Vol. XI).