Opinion: 99-60

April 29, 1999

Digest: A judge may participate in a League of Women Voters project which seeks to establish a dialogue between justice system professionals and the public with respect to the administration of criminal justice, within the limits set forth in the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct.

Rule:  22 NYCRR 100.2(A); 100.3(B)(8);
           100.4(B); 100.4(C)(3);
           Opinion 96-44 (Vol. XIV).


            A full-time judge inquires about the propriety of participating in a project under the auspices of the League of Women Voters called "Balancing Justice in New York." The stated purpose of the project is to establish a community dialogue between citizens and justice system professionals, the goal of which is to "define priorities for the system, explore sentencing options and to work toward implementing improvements".

            The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct allow a judge to speak, write, lecture, teach and participate in other activities concerning the law, the legal system and the administration of justice. 22 NYCRR 100.4(B); 100.4(C)(3). This particular activity falls within such categories. Therefore, the judge may participate in this initiative sponsored by the League of Woman Voters, including speaking, lecturing or teaching at the project. The judge, however, is cautioned about making any inappropriate statements during any presentation that the judge may deliver at the project, e.g., commenting on any pending or impending cases, or indicating a predisposition to decide matters in a certain way. 22 NYCRR 100.2(A), 100.3(B)(8); Opinion 96-44 (Vol. XIV).