Opinion: 98-66
June 19, 1998
Digest:    A judge is not barred from presiding in matters where one of the attorneys is the daughter of the deputy court clerk, but the deputy must be insulated from any contact with the daughter's cases.

Rule:    22 NYCRR 100.2(C); 100.3(C)(2);
            Opinion 90-68 (Vol. V).


            A judge inquires whether the judge may preside in cases where one of the attorneys is the daughter of the deputy clerk of the court.

            Section 100.2(C) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct provides:

A judge shall not lend the prestige of his or her
office to advance the private interest of the judge
or others; nor shall a judge convey or permit others
to convey the impression that they are in a special
position to influence the judge.

Section 100.3(C)(2) of the Rules further provides:

A judge shall require staff, court officials and others
subject to the judge's direction and control to observe
the standards of fidelity and diligence that apply to the
judge and to refrain from manifesting bias or prejudice
in the performance of their official duties.
            The court has two clerks. Thus, to avoid the appearance of impropriety and favoritism resulting from the deputy court clerk's involvement in any cases where the clerk's daughter appears, such cases should be directed to the other court clerk. Furthermore, the deputy clerk who is the subject of this inquiry should be instructed to avoid any contact with the daughter's cases, including all files and documents, and should not be in the courtroom in the event of an appearance by the daughter.

            The Committee concludes that it is unnecessary for the judges of the court to remove themselves from any matters involving the deputy court clerk's daughter, provided the above procedures are followed.

            This situation differs from the one addressed in Opinion 90-68 (Vol. V) where the Committee concluded that a judge should not preside over cases handled by a law firm which also employed the only clerk in the court. In contrast, the court clerk here is not employed by a law firm and there is another clerk who can handle such matters.