Opinion 89-91

September 12, 1989


Digest:         A judge who was co-chair of a special bar association committee studying problems of the criminal justice system before assuming the bench may continue to serve in that position and may appear at public hearings before legislative or executive committees to urge implementation of the committee's recommendations.


Rules:          22 NYCRR 100.4(a)(b)(c)


         A judge who, before being appointed judge, was named co-chair of a special committee of a bar association to study and make recommendations concerning problem areas in the criminal justice system in the state, asks whether, now, as a judge, it is permissible to participate in the implementation program of the committee which intends to undertake active efforts in the State Legislature and with the Division of Probation to seek implementation of the committee’s approved recommendations.

         Assuming that the answer is in the negative, the judge further inquires whether it is proper to remain as co-chair of the committee during the implementation period without participation in the implementation program.

         The stated purpose of the bar association committee is to improve the criminal justice system and the administration of justice.

         Subdivisions (a), (b) and (c) of section 100.4 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator of the Courts read as follows:


(a) A judge may speak, write, lecture, teach and participate in other activities concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice;


(b) A judge may appear at a public hearing before an executive or legislative body or official on matters concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice, and he may otherwise consult with an executive or legislative body or official, but only on matters concerning the administration of justice.


(c) A judge may serve as a member, officer or director of an organization or governmental agency devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system or the administration of justice. He or she may assist such an organization in raising funds and may participate in their management and investment, but shall not personally participate in public fundraising activities. He or she may make recommendations to public and private fund-granting agencies on projects and programs concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice.

         It is the opinion of this Committee that, under these provisions, the judge may continue to serve as co-chair of the bar association committee and may participate in a program of implementation in a manner consistent with rule 100.4.