January 7, 2011
This responds to your inquiry (10-147) asking whether you may actively and publicly lobby for or against a pending bill which, if passed, would extend the rights of defendants before the Justice Courts.
Section 100.4(C)(1) permits a judge to appear at a public hearing before an executive or legislative body or official on matters concerning the law, the legal system or the administration of justice.
The Committee previously has advised that a judge may write to and lobby legislators about matters concerning the law, the legal system and/or the administration of justice (see Opinion 09-166 [judges may lobby in support of legislation concerning the legal system and the administration of justice]; 06-34 [legislation to benefit incarcerated domestic violence survivors who have been convicted of crimes against their abusers]; 02-10 [legislation that would grant peace officer status to a court officer]; 99-158 [Vol. XVIII] [impact of reduction in mental health staff on the courts]; 96-41 [Vol. XIV] [retirement benefits for non-judicial employees of the Unified Court System]).
For the same reason, you may actively and publicly lobby for or against a bill that would extend the rights of defendants before the Justice Courts.
I have enclosed copies of Opinions 09-166, 06-34, 02-10, 99-158 (Vol. XVIII) and 96-41 (Vol. XIV) for your convenience.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow
Assoc. Justice, Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)