March 21, 2012
This responds to your inquiry (12-38) asking whether you must disqualify yourself in a proceeding where close relatives of your opponent in the recent election appear before you as party litigants.
The Committee has previously advised that a judge need not disqualify him/herself where a judge’s opponent appears before the judge, unless on the particular facts, the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned or if the judge has doubts about whether he/she can be fair and impartial. Here, although the relationship is even further removed, the same guidelines apply.
Enclosed for your convenience are Opinions 91-146 and 90-136 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)