Opinion 08-137

October 5, 2008

Dear Judge :

         This responds to your inquiry (08-137) in which you ask whether, upon your appointment to a criminal court bench, you may continue to serve as Chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Task Force on Wrongful Convictions, which will involve holding public hearings, recommending legislative reforms and possibly testifying before the state legislature about those reforms. In addition, you inquire whether you may continue to update your treatise on criminal law and write articles for a legal trade publication.

         The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct permit a judge to write on the law (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[B]) and to hold a position which involves “the improvement of the law, the legal system or the administration of justice” (22 NYCRR 100.4[C][2][a]). This Committee’s prior opinions reinforce that the activities you describe are ethically permissible. Please refer to Opinions 08-09; 06-121; 95-145; 90-24; and 89-91, enclosed for your convenience, which address these issues.

                                                 Very truly yours,

                                                 George D. Marlow,

                                                 Justice of the Supreme Court

                                                 Committee Chair