December 5, 1991
Note: The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct now provide an additional exception:
"A full-time judge shall not appear at a public hearing before an executive or legislative body or official except on matters concerning the law, the legal system or the administration of justice or except when acting pro se in a matter involving the judge or the judge's interests." See 22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(1); see also Opinions 92-21, 02-41, 02-116, 04-24, 06-55, 06-93, 07-131, 08-33, 09-83, and 10-156. This Opinion is modified to the extent that it is inconsistent with the current Rule and subsequent Opinions.
Digest: A judge may speak at a town hearing about the town budget, but only if it relates to the law, the legal system or the administration of justice.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §§100.4(b).
A judge asks whether it is permissible to speak at a town hearing about adoption of the town budget.
As this is a public hearing, the judge is limited to speaking on topics permitted by section 100.4(b) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator, which provides:
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....
Accordingly, the judge may comment on the town budget only to the extent that it concerns the law or the legal system or the administration of justice.