Opinion: 99-153

October 21, 1999

Digest: A town justice may write a letter to the county Sheriff's Department suggesting that a course on personal safety taught by a member of the department should be taught in the local schools.

Rule:  22 NYCRR 100.1, 100.2, 100.4(A)(1).


            A part-time town justice who is also employed by the county states that as a county employee he/she had attended a personal safety class taught by a member of the County Sheriff's Department.

            The judge asks whether it is proper to write to the Sheriff's Department suggesting that the course should be taught in the local schools.

            The Committee is of the opinion that contacting the Sheriff's Department under the circumstances set forth in the inquiry does not in any way impair the integrity and independence of the judiciary. 22 NYCRR 100.1. The mere contacting of the Sheriffs Department with the suggestion would not, in our view, "cast reasonable doubt on the judge's capacity to act impartially as a judge." 22 NYCRR 100.4(A)(1). What is proposed by the town justice does not in any way appear to align the judiciary with law enforcement so as to create an appearance of impropriety. 22 NYCRR 100.2. We thus conclude that it is not improper to send such a letter.