October 9, 2020
This responds to your inquiry (20-107) asking whether you may provide a copy of the weekly town court calendar to only the Assigned Counsel Program on an on-going basis.1 This Program funds local attorneys to represent defendants in your court.
Previously, “[t]he Committee has … advised that a judge may not create, maintain and/or produce information about cases specifically and exclusively for the benefit of one side” of an action. We concluded that to do so “would risk compromising the independence of the judiciary and public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary and may well cause the appearance of impropriety” (Opinion 15-217).
Accordingly, it is ethically impermissible to undertake to regularly furnish a copy of the weekly court calendar to only the
Assigned Counsel Program.
However, we have also advised that it is permissible for a court to undertake “reasonable efforts to make the court’s calendar widely available to the public in general, as long as such access is made available to all interested parties” (id.). It would therefore, for example, be permissible to post the calendar on the court’s website, subject to any redactions required by court rule or statute.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 15-217 and Opinion 07-185/08-68/08-77 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice (Ret.)
Appellate Div. First Dep’t
Margaret T. Walsh Supreme Court Justice
1 We note the original inquiry referred to providing a copy of “my weekly calendar” to one side, whereas the inquirer subsequently clarified that he/she meant providing a copy of “the listing of [scheduled] attorneys” to that side. However, the same principles apply to either request.