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Home / Case Digests / NYS Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics — Part-time Judge: Opinion 12-173

NYS Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics — Part-time Judge: Opinion 12-173

NYS Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics

Part-time Judge

Intertwined Proceedings in his Court — Judge’s Law Firm

Opinion 12-173

Background: A part-time town judge who also practices law states that his law firm represents a client in Family Court. Recently, the client was arrested for violating a Family Court order of protection with the geographic boundaries of the judge’s court. The client was arraigned in a neighboring municipality, but the action for criminal contempt is pending in the inquiring judge’s court. The case was transferred to the Integrated Domestic Violence Court. The judge asked if his law firm may still represent the client.

Opinion: The Cced that a judge’s law firm may not represent a client in a criminal case that originated in the judge’s court, even if the matter is transferred to the Integrated Domestic Violence court. Further, the law firm may not continue to represent a client in family court cases that are intertwined with a criminal case that originated in the judge’s court, once all the intertwined cases are transferred to the Integrated Domestic Violence court. Finally, although a judge’s associates may not appear before any judge of the judge’s court, they are not barred from practicing in other courts and thus may appear before part-time judges in other courts who are permitted to practice law.