Opinion 89-37

May 11, 1989

Dear Judge :

         The Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics, at its meeting of April 4, 1989, considered your inquiry (89-37), dated March 9, 1989, concerning the need for your disqualification or disclosure on the record whenever the attorney (or the attorney’s law firm) appears before you, from whom you recently rented, for a one-week period, a vacation home. You state that the attorney’s firm usually appears in your court approximately four times per year, and that you do not expect to rent this vacation residence on a continuing basis.

         The Committee recommends that for a reasonable period in the future you disclose to all parties, whenever this attorney’s firm appears before you, the facts concerning this rental, and that for such reasonable period you preside in such a case only if all parties through their attorneys consent in writing or on the record, and that during this period you disqualify yourself should any party object to your so presiding (see 22 NYCRR 100.3(c).

         While the Committee questions the wisdom of a judge engaging in any business transaction with an attorney who is likely to appear in the judge’s court, it calls your attention to section 100.5(c)(1) of the Judicial Conduct Rules (22 NYCRR 100.5(c)(1)), which reads in pertinent part as follows:


(1) A judge shall refrain from financial and business dealings that ... involve the judge in frequent transactions with lawyers or persons likely to come before the court on which he or she serves.

                                                                     Very truly yours,

                                                                     Samuel J. Silverman, Chair