Opinion 90-24

March 1, 1990

Please note that 22 NYCRR 100.3(B)(8) outlines the current prohibition on public comment on pending or impending matters in the United States or its territories.


Digest:         A full-time judge presiding over criminal cases may write commentaries for a publisher on criminal law, if the judge abides by certain caveats.


Rules:          22 NYCRR §§ 100.4 (a) and 100.6 (c).


         A full-time judge who was recently appointed to the bench has been a writer of commentaries on the criminal law for a legal publisher. The judge asks the Committee whether he may ethically continue to write such commentaries, for which he is compensated, although he is sitting on criminal cases.

         An examination of the Rules of the Chief Administrator and the Code of Judicial Conduct does not reveal any prohibition of the judge’s continuing his work as a commentator. A judge may write articles on the law, may teach law, and may write books on the law and, therefore there is no reason why the judge may not continue to write commentaries on the law [Section 100.4 (a) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator].

         However, because the judge sits in criminal term, the judge should refrain from urging a particular outcome in the commentaries for cases that remain in litigation.

         The judge also is required to report the compensation received from the publisher as extra-judicial compensation, as required by the Rules of the Chief Administrator [Section 100.6 (c) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator].