December 9, 2010
Digest: Whether a part-time judge may take an extended vacation is an administrative question to be determined by the appropriate administrative judge.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.3(A); Opinion 05-06.
A part-time judge asks whether it is ethically permissible for him/her to take an extended vacation during the winter months. According to the judge, the district administrative office advised him/her that a vacation of up to six months was administratively permissible for a part-time judge “as long as the court was covered and my co-judge had no objections.” The judge states that he/she planned this vacation well in advance, that his/her co-judge has agreed to handle the cases that come in during his/her absence, and that his/her supervising judge does not object to the plan. Moreover, the judge indicates that he/she would “fly back at my own expense to cover for my co-judge if circumstances arose that warranted it.”
In the Committee’s view, the facts presented raise no ethical concerns. Although the judicial duties of a judge take precedence over all the judge’s other activities (see 22 NYCRR 100.3[A]), the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct clearly do not preclude a judge from scheduling and taking a vacation with appropriate administrative approvals. Whether the scheduling of a judge’s vacation might adversely affect the judge’s judicial responsibilities is an administrative question to be determined by the appropriate administrative judge (cf. Opinion 05-06).