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Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics – Opinion 15-47

NYS Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics

Treatment Court

Scope of Discretion – Ex Parte Communications

Opinion 15-47

Background: The inquiring judge presides in a treatment court and asks if he may require individuals to engage in an exercise program as a condition of participating in the treatment court, absent a medical excuse. He also asks if he may attend and participate in the same exercise program along with the treatment court participants, provided each participating defendant consents to ex parte communications during the exercise program.

Opinion: The committee concluded that a what a judge may require as a condition of joining a treatment court program that the individual must agree to participate is a legal question the committee cannot answer. Additionally, a treatment court judge should not deliberately attend or participate in an exercise program together with treatment court participants.