22 NYCRR 100.1; 100.2.
A full-time judge who presides over a drug treatment court has been invited to sit as an uncompensated member of the Board of Directors of one of the drug treatment facilities that is assigned cases from the courts. Defendants from the judge's court are assigned to a facility by the drug court administrator and a treatment team. The judge has no involvement in the assignment of defendants to a particular treatment facility.
Although the inquiring judge does not determine which facility any defendant attends, the judge does sit on the screening panel which initially determines whether a defendant qualifies for participation in the program. Thus, the judge's decision as a panel member may, albeit indirectly, increase the facilities' client pool.
This Committee has previously advised that a judge who serves as the presiding judge of a County Drug Treatment Court may not serve as an officer or director or otherwise assist in the formation of a not-for-profit organization, the sole purpose of which was to solicit funds and services for the drug treatment program supervised by the court. Opinion 97-83.
Given the possible perception of impropriety that might be occasioned by the relationship of the judge to a program involving the facility and the judge's role on the screening panel, it is the opinion of the Committee that the judge should not serve on the facility's board of directors. 22 NYCRR 100.1; 100.2.