May 31, 2017
This responds to your inquiry (17-81) asking whether it is ethically permissible as a town justice to give, in your capacity as an employee of the Office of Court Administration, a short presentation on civil enforcement and other related civil matters at an annual training conference for a sheriff’s association.
A judge may speak, write, lecture, teach and participate in educational programs, conferences, symposia, etc. on matters about the law, legal system, and administration of justice (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[B]). However, a judge must not be perceived as giving strategic or tactical advice on a partisan basis. That would appear improper and would cast doubt on the judge’s ability to be impartial (see 22 NYCRR 100.2). Thus, while it is ethically impermissible for a judge to give partisan advice on litigation strategy, it is nevertheless ethically permissible to lecture the same audience on civil enforcement practices in general, without commenting on pending or impending cases.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 12-44 and 09-84 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Div., First Dep’t (Ret.)
Hon. Margaret T. Walsh
Family Court Judge
Acting Justice, Supreme Court