February 26, 2014
This responds to your inquiry (13-172) in which you advise that your spouse is in the process of selling his/her parent’s home and has engaged a real estate broker who is the spouse of an attorney who regularly appears before you. You ask whether you should exercise recusal over cases in which the attorney appears as counsel.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct require a judge to disqualify him/herself in any proceeding where the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned (see 22 NYCRR 100.3[E]). However, because the circumstances and relationships described in your inquiry are sufficiently remote, your impartiality cannot reasonably be questioned. Accordingly, neither disqualification nor disclosure is required when the attorney appears in your court, unless you believe you cannot be fair and impartial.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)