Topic: Town Justice serving as a civilian traffic dispatcher with a race track.
Digest: A part-time town justice may serve as a civilian dispatcher with a race track, since he is employed and paid by the race track and is not a peace officer, although the Sheriff selects the incumbent of this private position; the justice must recuse himself where appropriate.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.5 (h).
A part-time town justice inquires whether he may serve as a paid civilian radio traffic dispatcher employed by a local race track, although the Sheriff selects persons to serve in that position. The incumbent of the position is paid by the race track, not by the Sheriff’s Office or the County. The justice states that the position does not confer peace officer status.
Section 100.5 (h) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator
[22 NYCRR] states that:
A part-time judge may accept private employment or public employment in a Federal, State or Municipal department or agency, provided that such employment is not incompatible with judicial office and does not conflict or interfere with the proper performance of the judge’s duties. No judge shall accept employment as a peace officer as that term is defined in Section 1.20 of the Criminal Procedure Law.
Since the position of a civilian traffic dispatcher employed and paid by a race track is not a peace officer position and does not appear to conflict with the part-time justice’s judicial duties, even though the Sheriff designates the incumbent, the justice may serve as a radio dispatcher. The justice, however, should recuse himself if any case comes before him involving the race track and in any case where the Sheriff or a member of the Sheriff’s Office appears as a party or a witness.
This opinion is advisory only and does not bind either the Office of Court Administration or the Commission on Judicial Conduct.