March 25, 2019
This responds to your inquiry (19-04) asking if, as an OCA approved transcriptionist and a recently elected town justice, you must disclose you have provided transcription services to attorneys who may appear before you in town court.
We have advised that a part-time judge, who is also a court reporter, is disqualified in any case involving an attorney for whom the judge has transcribed proceedings, for a period of two years from final payment for the transcription services (see Opinion 06-92). The disqualification is subject to remittal after full disclosure on the record, provided no party is appearing without counsel (see Opinion 13-64).
After the two-year period expires, the judge may preside if he/she can be fair and impartial. The judge in his/her sole discretion may disclose the prior business relationship and it is solely within the judge’s discretion whether to preside if a party objects (see Opinion 12-32).
Enclosed for your convenience, are Opinions 12-32, 06-92 and 13-64, which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc Justice
Appellate Div., First Dept. (Ret)
Hon. Margaret T. Walsh
Supreme Court Justice