September 9, 2011
This responds to your inquiry (11-82) asking whether you and your co-justice may present a letter to the town board to be read into the minutes which recognizes and thanks all the individuals responsible for the upgrade of the court facilities.
A judge must always avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety (see NYCRR 100.2) and must always act to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary (see 22 NYCRR 100.2[A]). Further, a judge must diligently discharge his or her administrative responsibilities (see 22 NYCRR 100.3[C]).
In the Committee’s view, to express appreciation to the executive branch for work which furthers the administration of justice is consistent with a judge’s administrative responsibilities and does not impair the independence or detract from the integrity of the judiciary (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C]). Accordingly, it is ethically permissible for you and your co-judge to write the letter.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 07-77 and 95-53 which are analogous to this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)