January 7, 2019
This responds to your inquiry (18-182) asking about your obligations in cases before you where your court attorney was an attorney for the child in previous family court matters.
We have previously advised a judge must insulate the law clerk from all matters where the law clerk was personally involved, despite the disposition or lapse of time; and insulation may not be waived or remitted (see Opinion 15-233). He/she must disclose the law clerk’s insulation and explain its reason (see Opinion 09-27).
We also held that a judge is not automatically disqualified in a case where the judge’s law clerk was personally involved during his/her prior employment (see Opinions 15-233; and 99-139). Disqualification is within the judge’s sole discretion in light of the circumstances of the case (see Opinion 99-139).
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 15-233; 99-139; and 09-27 for your review, which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc Justice
Appellate Div., First Dept. (Ret)
Hon. Margaret T. Walsh
Supreme Court Justice