Opinion: 98-73
June 19, 1998
Digest:    A judge may teach a Vehicle and Traffic Law class to aspiring police officers as part of a program sponsored by a local community college.

Rule:    22 NYCRR 100.4(B)
            Opinions 96-44 (Vol. XIV);
            95-121 (Vol. XIII)


            A part-time judge inquires as to the propriety of teaching a 16 hour Vehicle and Traffic Law course at the Rural Police Training Institute, which is sponsored by a local community college. The program is designed for "aspiring police officers who are only able to attend courses on a part-time basis." The judge acknowledges that there is a possibility, albeit "remote," that some of the students in this program might eventually appear before the judge.

            Pursuant to section 100.4(B) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct, a judge may "speak, write, lecture, teach and participate in extra-judicial activities subject to the requirements of this part." The Committee has previously stated that, pursuant to this rule, a judge may participate in a training program operated by a local sheriff's department to the extent of engaging in a panel discussion in which the judge explains the procedures and operations of the judge's court. Opinion 96-44 (Vol. XIV). In that opinion, the Committee noted that the possibility that deputy sheriffs attending the program might later appear before the judge did not render the judge's participation inappropriate. This is to be contrasted with the Committee's opinion that a judge should not teach a seminar to police officers concerning the requisite elements to successfully prosecute certain traffic offenses. Opinion 95-121 (Vol. XIII).

            Based on the content of the present inquiry, it does not appear that the teaching of the 16 hour course referred to by the inquiring judge "would be advising the prosecution how to obtain convictions." Opinion 95-121 (Vol. XIII). Therefore, the Committee concludes that the judge may teach this course.