Opinion 14-87

August 19, 2014


Dear :

         This responds to your inquiry (14-87) asking whether it is ethically permissible for you to provide criminal defendants, who resolve their cases at arraignment with a disposition that does not include jail time, with information containing resources for various services. Specifically, you wish to provide a card containing a list of available resources for help regarding alcohol and drug addiction. The card also lists a website maintained by the New York Public Library “detailing various social services and other services available to the formerly incarcerated related to finding a job, education, housing, financial assistance, health counseling family services, legal services, etc.” The cards will be available at defense counsels’ podium for counsel to give to their clients.

         The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct state that “a judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others...” (22 NYCRR 100.2[C]). However, while a judge may not endorse or promote a particular program or service, a judge may recommend a list of possible programs or services from which a defendant may choose.

         Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 10-27; 07-41 and 04-41 which address this matter.

                                       Very truly yours,



George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice

Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)

Committee Chair