December 5, 1989
Digest: A part-time City Court judge may handle an appeal for a private party in an action where the municipality where he sits as judge is a party defendant stakeholder in the action under appeal.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.2 (a)
A part-time City Court judge who is an attorney inquires whether he may represent an appellant on an appeal to the Appellate Division where the municipality where he sits as judge is a party defendant stakeholder bound by the outcome of the action.
A part-time judge is not necessarily disqualified from handling an action, including an action for specific performance of a real estate contract (the subject of this inquiry), involving the municipality in which the judge sits. Section 100.2 (a) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator provides that a judge “shall conduct himself or herself at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the Judiciary”.
Here, the city where the part-time City Court judge sits is merely a stakeholder in the action, which must pay whichever other party in the action ultimately is ruled to have title to the property. No conflict of interest or appearance of impropriety is involved in the judge’s representing a party in this matter. See Committee Opinion 89-85.