September 5, 2012
This responds to your inquiry (12-110) asking 1) whether it is ethically permissible to be a restaurant owner and have your name on a liquor license; and 2) whether you may preside over cases in which an attorney who previously represented you appears before you as an assistant public defender.
It is ethically permissible for a part-time judge to be engaged in a business enterprise (cf. 22 NYCRR 100[D]) and to have his/her name on a liquor license (see Opinion 88-162, enclosed for your convenience).
A judge is disqualified from presiding over cases in which his/her personal attorney appears during the period of representation and for two years after the representation ends completely and all fees are paid. Thereafter, the judge must fully disclose the facts and nature of the legal representation. The disqualification rules for this particular situation are set forth in detail in Joint Opinion 08-171/174, which is enclosed for your convenience.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)