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Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics — Town Justice: Opinion 10-190

By: Daily Record Staff//January 9, 2012

Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics — Town Justice: Opinion 10-190

By: Daily Record Staff//January 9, 2012//

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NYS Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics

Town Justice

Prior Member of the Town Board

Opinion 10-190

Background: A town justice-elect served on the board of the town where he was to preside. As a member of the town board he voted on legislation that amended and promulgated town laws and ordinances.  He had also made the initial appointments and subsequent annual reappointments of the town attorney who represents the town in the town court.  In addition, the town justice’s role was to advise the town board on conducting a comprehensive review of the municipal dog control statute. The town justice sought to know whether he was disqualified from hearing any matters related to laws or ordinances he had previously promulgated, or whether he was disqualified from hearing a case brought by the town attorney he appointed.

Opinion: A town justice-elect who served on the board of the town where he was to preside and who also voted on legislation amending and promulgating town laws and ordinances and on the initial appointment and subsequent annual reappointments of the town attorneys is not required to disqualify himself when the town attorney appears or when such town laws and ordinances are subject of the cases before him.

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