Opinion 18-48

April 19, 2018


Dear :

         This answers your inquiry (18-48) asking if you may engage in post-screening question and answer sessions and press interviews at film festivals planning to show a documentary of a few years ago about your volunteer work.

         Pursuant to the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct, a judge may lecture, teach and otherwise participate in extra-judicial activities not incompatible with judicial office which do not cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially, detract from the dignity of judicial office or otherwise interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[B]; 100.4[A][1] - [3]). A judge’s participation is also subject to all applicable limitations on judicial speech and conduct, including the public comment rule and the rule against impermissible ex parte communications (see 22 NYCRR 100.3[B][6], [8]). Moreover, a judge may not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance any private interests (see 22 NYCRR 100.2[C]).

         Accordingly, provided you adhere to these limitations on speech and conduct, you may participate in these post-screening events.

         Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 17-155 and 15-93 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