Opinion 04-20

September 9, 2004

This responds to your inquiry (04-20) in which you ask whether you may accept an invitation to attend a conference by the Division of Criminal Justice Services entitled “The Path to Prosecution,” dealing with domestic violence and sexual assault cases in your county.

The purpose of the conference is, as stated in the brochure, to disseminate knowledge and improve collaboration between various agencies in order to “enhance the prosecution of these crimes.” As you note, there is no representative of the defense bar present. Further, of the nine feature speakers, three are from the District Attorney’s office, and one speaker is a lieutenant from the New York State Police.

Under these circumstances, the Committee is of the opinion that you should not attend the conference. Clearly, the focus of the conference is geared to aiding in the successful prosecution of various crimes. Participation by you in such a conference would, we believe, undermine “public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.” 22 NYCRR 100.2(A). In this regard, we enclose Joint Opinion 00-54 and 00-56 (Vol. XIX) dealing with a similar set of circumstances.