January 27, 2000
A judge may apply for approval to subdivide unimproved real property situated
in the county in which the judge serves, but should not use judicial stationery
or his or her judicial title in correspondence or in personal or legal
appearances in the seeking of such approval.
22 NYCRR 100.2(C); 100.4(D)(2).
The inquiring full-time judge and the judge's spouse own unimproved real property in the county in which the judge serves. The inquirer would like to apply for subdivision approval in order to sell individual lots, and asks if there are any particular precautions that should be taken.
Section 100.4(D)(2) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct provides that a judge may hold and manage investments of the judge and members of the judge's family, including real estate. However, the judge must take precautions when conducting affairs regarding the property so as to avoid violating section 100.2(C) of the Rules, which provides that "(a) judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others . . ." 22 NYCRR 100.2(C).
The Committee is of the opinion that while the judge may apply for official approval to subdivide land in the county in which the judge serves, recommended precautions include refraining from using the judge's judicial stationery or judicial title in correspondence or in personal or legal appearances that may be required in pursuing the matter.