October 3, 2018
This responds to your inquiry (18-128) asking if you may give an affidavit attesting to the “bona fide good faith marriage” of a friend to his/her immigrant spouse who seeks permanent residency. You say you have personal knowledge of their marriage’s legitimacy and know your friend for over three decades. You attended their wedding and have maintained this friendship ever since.
Though the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct prohibit a judge from testifying voluntarily as a character witness (see 22 NYCRR 100.2[C]), they do not otherwise prohibit a judge from testifying as a fact witness. Thus, as long as your affidavit attests to facts within your personal knowledge and observation, it is ethically permissible for you to submit such an affidavit (see Opinions 16-106; 14-103 [issue 2]; and 98-118).
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 16-106;14-103; and 98-118, which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc.
Appellate Div,. First Dept (Ret.)
Hon. Margaret T. Walsh
Family Court Judge
Acting Justice, Supreme Court