January 23, 1997
A full-time City Court judge may not serve on the local advisory board
established in connection with a request for a federal law enforcement
block grant being made by the city police department for computerization
enhancement of police records.
22 NYCRR 100.1, 100.2, 100.4(C)(3).
A full-time City Court judge asks if he/she may serve on the local advisory board for a federal law enforcement block grant request being made by the city police department for computerization enhancement of police records. The federal agency entertaining the grant request requires that a representative of the "local court system" serve on the local advisory board.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct require that a judge uphold the independence of the judiciary and avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of the judge's activities. 22 NYCRR 100.1, 100.2. This initiative will primarily benefit the police department. The judge's involvement as a board member would not fall within the authorized activity addressing the law, the legal system and the administration of justice permitted under the rules, and such involvement would create an appearance of impropriety and a failure to maintain the independence of the judiciary. 22 NYCRR 100.1, 100.2, 100.4(C)(3).
The judge must therefore decline appointment to the advisory board. However,
this does not mean that a non-judicial employee of the court system could
not serve as the representative of the local court system on the advisory
board, thus meeting the requirements of the grant.