Joint Opinion 98-07/98-24
Digest: A full-time District Court Judge may not simultaneously serve as a part-time Village Justice.
Rules: N.Y. Const. Art. 6, §20; 22 NYCRR 100.3(A); 100.4(H)(1)(c)
The president of an association of part-time judges and part-time Village Justice, from a county which has a District Court, ask if there is an incompatibility of office between the position of full-time District Court Judge and part-time Village Justice within the same county.
Although Article 6, §20 of the New York State Constitution does not include District Court Judges among the full-time judges who are prohibited from holding another public office, this omission does not authorize a District Court judge to hold an additional paid governmental position unless that position is compatible with the full-time judicial office held by the judge.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct prohibit a full-time judge from receiving compensation for extra-judicial activities performed for or on behalf of New York State or its political subdivisions (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[H][c]). The village, which would pay compensation to the Village Justice, is clearly a political subdivision of the State as contemplated by the Rule. While an argument could be made that both positions are judicial and therefore neither can be "extra-judicial" this Committee has determined that the clear intent of the rule is to prohibit full-time judges from participating in other compensated governmental activity which would prevent the judge from devoting full efforts to his/her full-time judicial responsibilities. (see 22 NYCRR 100.3(A)). The one, specific, exception that authorizes a judge to teach a regular course of study at a state-supported college or university does not extend to holding another elected or appointed public office. (see 22 NYCRR 100.3(H)(1)(c)(2)).
It is therefore the opinion of the Committee that a full-time District Court Judge may not simultaneously serve as a part-time Village Justice.