June 5, 2009
Please Note: The digest of Opinion 19-125 states: “A part-time attorney judge may continue to represent a client as guardian pursuant to a Part 36 assignment made before the judge assumed the bench. Where the appointment is a continuing one, the representation need not be completed within one year.” The body of the opinion further explains: “the judge need not complete the representation within one year, where the appointment is a continuing one and the representation does not conflict or interfere with proper performance of the judge’s duties or involve appearances before a part-time attorney judge in the same county. Opinions 18-17 and 09-103 are modified and overruled to the extent they suggest part-time judges must complete any and all Part 36 assignments within one year” (id.).
This responds to your inquiry (09-103) asking whether, for certain Part 36 fiduciary appointments made before the effective date of being appointed town justice, you may complete the work and accept compensation for those assignments after the effective date of your appointment as town justice. Because the appointments pre-date the commencement of your judicial position, it is ethically permissible to complete the assignments and receive compensation, but you should complete the work within one year, if possible.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 08-130 and 02-37 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow
Justice of the Supreme Court