Opinion 90-181

December 11, 1990


Digest:         A part-time judge is entitled to express his or her opinion publicly regarding the plan to expand the duties of the county district attorney’s office from part-time to full-time.


Rules:          22 NYCRR 100.4(a)(b)


         The president of a county magistrates’ association, who is a part-time judge, inquires whether the association or an individual judge may comment to the county board of legislators on the proposal by the county district attorney to enlarge the position of district attorney from part-time to full-time.

         Section 100.4 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator provides:


A judge, subject to the proper performance of his or her judicial duties, may engage in the following quasi-judicial duties, if in so doing the judge does not cause doubt on the capacity to decide impartiality any issue that may come before him or her:


(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 ....(Emphasis supplied).

         As the proposed plan concerns an issue relating to the legal system and the administration of justice, rather than a political campaign for office, the individual judge may express his or her opinion regarding the expansion of the district attorney’s office. This Committee expresses no opinion as to the activities of the magistrates’ association.