Opinion: 98-114
October 22, 1998
Digest:    The fact that an attorney had been sued by the judge when the judge was District Attorney, does not require the judge to disqualify him/herself in proceedings in which the attorney appears, provided the judge believes that he or she can be impartial.

Rule:    22 NYCRR 100.3(E)(1)


            Prior to taking the bench, the judge as District Attorney had brought an action for specific performance against an attorney in a criminal action in which the attorney was defense counsel. The judge now inquires whether it is permissible to preside over matters in which this attorney is appearing.

            In light of the fact that the action was commenced in an official capacity as District Attorney, the Committee sees no reason for a blanket recusal. That is, the institution of a lawsuit by itself does not lead to the conclusion that any proceeding in which this attorney appears is one "in which the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned . . . " 22 NYCRR 100.3(E)(1). Accordingly, as long as the judge believes that he/she can be impartial, there is no reason for recusal.