March 11, 2004
Digest: A judge may express his or her opinion regarding matters affecting the judge’s personal interests, provided that official stationery is not used and the judge does not refer to his/her judicial office.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.2(C). Opinion 97-36 (Vol. XV).
A judge inquires whether he or she may write a letter to the New York State Liquor Authority opposing the renewal of a liquor license for an establishment located near the judge’s residence. The judge desires to write this letter as a private citizen and does not intend to use official stationery.
Section 100.2(C) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct provides, in part, that ‘[a] judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the interests of the judge or others.” 22 NYCRR 100.2(C).
It is the opinion of the Committee that is permissible for the judge to express his or her opinion as a private citizen on a personal matter, under the circumstances presented here. See, Opinion 97-36 (Vol. XV). However, he or she may not use personal official stationery or refer in any way to his or her judicial office.