April 5, 1990
Digest: A full-time city court judge may serve on the board of trustees of a local community college which is part of the State University of New York , provided that the judge recuses himself in any matters affecting the college.
Rules: NY State Constitution, Article VI, § 20(b) (1); 22 NYCRR § 100.5 (g); Canon 5 (g) of the Code of Judicial Ethics.
A full-time city court judge, sitting outside of the City of New York, inquires whether he may continue to serve as a member of the local community college board of trustees, which is part of the State University of New York.
The Committee notes that, significantly, the prohibition in the New York State Constitution, Article 6 Section 20 (b) (1), against judges holding “any other public office or trust except an office in relation to the administration of courts. . .”, does not apply to judges, whether full-time or part-time, of city courts outside the City of New York, since it applies only to judges and justices of courts specified in that provision.
The Committee does not address any legal questions, but solely whether the Rules or Canons of Judicial Conduct bar the activity in question. Section 100.5 (g) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator provides in part:
A judge, . . .may represent his or her country, state or locality on ceremonial occasions or in connection with historical, educational and cultural activities. [Emphasis supplied].
Whether or not section 100.5 (g) of the Rules otherwise would bar service of a full-time city court judge outside the City of New York on the board of trustees of a community college, the Committee believes that this service is permitted to the judge expressly under the above-quoted language.
The Rules of the Chief Administrator of the Courts do not prohibit the judge’s serving as a trustee for the community college, provided that the judge recuses himself in any matters affecting the college, and that such matters are not so frequent as to interfere with the performance of his judicial duties.