October 21, 1999
A part-time town justice may appoint a part-time village police officer
as town court clerk where the police work is infrequent and village cases
do not come before the town justice.
22 NYCRR 100.3(C)(2);
Opinions 96-64 (Vol. XIV),
96-133 (Vol. XV).
A town justice inquires as to the propriety of hiring a town court clerk who is also a part-time police officer in the village within the town. The judge advises that the potential appointee works as a part-time police officer only two or three times a year; and in the past two years the judge has not been presented with any village cases. In addition, the judge advises that the clerk's functions involve the receipt of fines and mailing court notices.
This Committee has previously addressed similar inquiries, in response
to which we have advised that there is a potential conflict between the
role of a police officer and the duties of court clerk. See Opinions
96-64 (Vol. XIV), 96-133 (Vol. XV). Here, however, the Committee is of
the opinion that the proposed appointment does not pose such a conflict.
The part-time police officer works on a very limited basis and village
cases apparently do not present themselves before the town court. Thus,
any danger of the court clerk manifesting "bias or prejudice in the performance
of ... official duties" seems highly remote. 22 NYCRR 100.3(C)(2).