June 13, 1997
A pamphlet prepared by the County describing the work of the Surrogate's
Court may be made available in the Courthouse and to the general public.
22 NYCRR 100.2(C); 100.3(B)(8).
A Surrogate's Court judge states that the County is preparing a brief pamphlet that will explain the functions of the Surrogate's Court, describe the work of the different departments of the Court, and provide the telephone numbers of the law staff and the Chief and Deputy clerks, indicating that they are available to answer questions over the telephone or in person. The pamphlet would contain no reference to any court opinions nor would mention be made of any cases, pending or closed.
The judge asks if it is appropriate for the Court to make the pamphlet "available at the counter in the Court and to any group i.e., senior citizens that showed interest."
The Committee does not perceive any ethical impediment to the intended use of the pamphlet. Obviously, its distribution does not promote the private interests of the Surrogate (see 22 NYCRR 100.2[C]), nor does it constitute public comment on pending or impending cases (see 22 NYCRR 100.3[B]). Its purpose is educational and the Committee sees no reason why it can not be made available in the Courthouse, and to the general public.