Opinion: 97-148

January 28, 1998

Digest:  A full-time judge is not required to file a report under section 100.4(H) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct with respect to compensation received for legal services rendered and real property conveyed prior to the judge's assuming judicial office.

Rules:  22 NYCRR 40.2(a); 100.4 (H),(I);
             Opinion 89-67 (Vol. III).


            A recently elected full-time judge inquires whether compensation received from the judge's former law firm for services provided prior to assuming judicial office, and sums due for real property transferred to the firm, also prior to becoming a judge, constitutes compensation which is required to be reported under section 100.4 (H) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct.

            Section 100.4 (H) provides, in pertinent part:

    (1) Compensation and Reimbursement. A full-time judge may receive compensation and reimbursement of expenses for the extra-judicial activities permitted by this Part, if the source of such payments does not give the appearance of influencing the judge's performance of judicial duties or otherwise give the appearance of impropriety . . .

    (2) Public Reports. A full-time judge shall report the date, place and nature of any activity for which the judge received compensation in excess of $150, and the name of the payor and the amount of compensation so received. Compensation or income of a spouse attributed to the judge by operation of a community property law is not extra-judicial compensation to the judge. The judge's report shall be made at least annually and shall be filed as a public document in the office of the clerk of the court on which the judge serves or other office designated by law.

            As this Committee has interpreted the predecessor to the present rule, it is intended to require a report only of compensation received for extra-judicial activities engaged in by a judge while serving on the bench, not for services rendered prior to becoming a judge. See Opinion 89-67 (Vol. III).

            This interpretation is buttressed by section 100.4 (I), which states:

(I) Financial Disclosure. Disclosure of a judge's income, debts, investments or other assets is required only to the extent provided in this section and in section 100.3 (F), or as required by Part 40 of the Rules of the Chief Judge (22 NYCRR Part 40), or as otherwise required by law.

            Accordingly, the judge is not required to file a report with the Clerk of the Court with respect to compensation received for services rendered or property conveyed prior to assuming judicial office. Such income should, however, be reported in the annual financial statement filed with the Ethics Commission of the Unified Court System in accordance with Part 40 of the Rules of the Chief Judge. 22 NYCRR 40.2(a).