Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home / Case Digests / Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics — Town Justice: Opinion 10-197

Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics — Town Justice: Opinion 10-197

NYS Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics

Town Justice

Non-legal Support to a Friend at Court Proceedings

Opinion 10-197

Background: A part-time lawyer town/village judge asked whether he may accompany a friend during court proceedings relating to the friend’s divorce. The judge is not a divorce lawyer and the friend has retained counsel to represent his legal interests. The judge would accompany his friend to provide non-legal support. The judge also asked whether he may publicly comment on natural gas fracking.

Opinion: A part-time lawyer town/village judge may accompany his friend to court appearances relating to the friend’s divorce, but should not draw attention to his presence or judicial status. The committee also stated that a judge may speak or write as a private citizen about natural gas drilling to the extent that it affects him personally, but should not use official stationary or refer to his judicial status.