By: Daily Record Staff//June 6, 2012
By: Daily Record Staff//June 6, 2012//
NYS Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics
Consultant to Nonprofit
Background: A full-time judge who presides in a drug treatment court asked whether he may serve as a paid consultant to a nonprofit educational program specializing in educating people with addiction issues. The judge stated that he would review the organization’s programs and policies and make suggestions on ways to improve them based on his training, education and experience. The program is located in a county where the judge does not regularly sit, and none of the consulting work would be done on court time or in the courthouse. Moreover, none of the defendants appearing in the judge’s court have ever been enrolled in this program. The judge also noted that the he cannot send drug court participants to the program because it is not approved by the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services as a provider.
Opinion: The committee found that a full-time judge may serve as a consultant to a nonprofit organization that specialized in educating people with addiction issues for the sole purpose of reviewing and making recommendations about the organization’s programs and policies. No defendants before the judge may be enrolled in this program, and none of the work can be done on court time or in the courthouse. Further, the judge is prohibited from giving legal advice to the organization. The judge may accept a reasonable stipend for his work.