June 9, 2011
This responds to your inquiry (11-56) asking whether it is ethically permissible for you to moderate a panel discussion at your religious institution involving the basics of court operations. The speakers would be lawyers who are members of the congregation.
A judge may speak, write, lecture, teach and participate in extra-judicial activities (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[B]) as long as such activities are not incompatible with judicial office and do not cast doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially as a judge, detract from the dignity of judicial office, or interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[A]-). In addition, you may not discuss pending or impending cases and must exercise care to avoid any perception of partiality or predisposition to decide matters in a certain way (see 22 NYCRR 100.3[B]; 100.2[A]).
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 10-178; 09-58; and 96-44 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)