Opinion 17-115

November 9, 2017

Dear :

         This responds to your inquiry (17-115) asking whether, as a full-time judge, you may participate in an educational video production about multi-systemic therapies, produced by a not-for-profit organization that provides such services. You indicate that the video is “to be used as an engagement and educational tool for families and systems in order to increase use of [multi-systemic therapy] services.”


A judge may participate in extra-judicial activities that do not cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially as a judge; detract from the dignity of judicial office; interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties and are not incompatible with judicial office (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[A]). Therefore, it is ethically permissible to appear in this video as long as you simply describe, objectively and without comment, the manner in which multi-systemic therapies work. The video should only be used for educational purposes; must not advocate a certain strategy or give examples of any types of strategies; and must not be used for fund-raising purposes.


Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 16-152; 10-161; 02-70; and 97-89 which address this issue.


Very truly yours,




                             George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice

                              Appellate Div., First Dep’t (Ret.)

                             Committee Co-Chair


                             Hon. Margaret T. Walsh

                             Family Court Judge

                             Acting Justice, Supreme Court

                             Committee Co-Chair