August 8, 2017
This responds to your inquiry (17-87) asking whether, as a full-time judge, it is ethically permissible to accept an anonymous gift of food, modest in value, which was left at your chambers. While the identity of the donors is unknown, you believe they belong to a religious sect, the members of which have no pending cases before you.
Based on your inquiry, there does not appear to be any basis to conclude that any of the unidentified donors is a “party or other person who has come or is likely to come or whose interests have come or are likely to come before [you]” (22 NYCRR 100.4[D][h]). Therefore, it is the Committee’s view that you may retain the gift. As the gift does not appear to exceed the threshold value of $150.00 as set forth in 22 NYCRR 100.4(D)(5)(h), the gift does not have to be reported in accordance with 22 NYCRR 100.4(H).
Enclosed for your convenience is Opinion 12-136, which addresses 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