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The Advisory Committee can only respond to inquiries from New York State judges and others subject to Part 100 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator of the Courts (22 NYCRR part 100), about the propriety of their own conduct under the Rules.

 

Formal Written Inquiries

Judiciary Law §212(2)(l) provides that any action a judge takes in accordance with a formal written advisory opinion of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics is "presumed proper" for purposes of any subsequent investigation by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Inquiries must relate to your own conduct under Part 100. Please include two telephone numbers in case the Committee needs to contact you. 

Formal inquiries may now be sent either by mail to:

Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics
c/o Laura L. Smith, Esq., Chief Counsel
25 Beaver Street, Room 866
New York, NY 10004
Tel: 1-866-79-JUDGE (or 1-866-795-8343)

or by email to:

part100@nycourts.gov (please carefully review our policy)

Note: If you are at or near the deadline for a meeting, please call 866-795-8343 and speak with a Co-Chair or the Chief Counsel.

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Important Guidelines:

  • Provide all necessary context. Be concrete, rather than abstract, wherever possible. The Committee cannot address hypothetical questions.

  • Frame your inquiry in terms of your own proposed conduct (for example, "May I do such-and-such?" or "Must I do such-and-such?").

  • Include two alternative phone numbers so that the Committee can easily reach you after hours. It may be necessary for the Committee to clarify facts or circumstances before providing the requested guidance.

  • If not otherwise fully indicated on your letterhead or the signature block of your email, please be sure to identify: 

    • your judicial title and the court in which you preside and

    • your preferred mailing address.

  • Include copies of all relevant supporting materials. If you are uncertain which materials will be relevant, or if your supporting materials are likely to exceed five pages, please call Laura L. Smith, Esq. at 212-428-2504 to discuss.

  • The Committee considers inquiries only at its regularly scheduled meetings.  Please make every effort to send your inquiry so that it will be received at least 10 days in advance of the meeting (see Timing Guidelines below).

Deadline Policy:

Absent a demonstration of truly urgent and exigent circumstances, any inquiry that is not received at least 10 days before a scheduled meeting will automatically be deferred for consideration at the next regularly scheduled meeting. (See the table in the Timing Guidelines section below for the date by which inquiries must be received for each meeting date.) This policy has become necessary in light of the large number of inquiries the Committee typically receives, as well as an increasing number of last-minute inquiries.

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Timing Guidelines:

The Committee makes every effort to consider and decide each written inquiry at the next regularly scheduled meeting, as long as the inquiry is received at least 10 days before a scheduled meeting date.

  Meeting Date Inquiries Must Be Received By...
2020 September 10, 2020 August 31
October 29, 2020 October 19
December 10, 2020 November 30
2021 January 28, 2021 January 15
March 11, 2021 March 1
April 29, 2021 April 19
June 17, 2021 June 7
September 9, 2021 August 30
October 28, 2021 October 18
December 2, 2021 November 17 (early due to Thanksgiving holiday)

We realize that some inquirers need an expedited response. If your inquiry is time-sensitive, please let us know so that we can do our best to give it appropriate priority in our discussions.

Expedited Responses:
  • If you need an expedited response from the Committee, please explain in your inquiry why it is time-sensitive.

  • You may call a Co-Chair or the Chief Counsel after the meeting to find out the disposition of your inquiry.

  • If you are running for judicial office, you may obtain expedited consideration for your campaign-related questions simply by contacting the Judicial Campaign Ethics Center, which is set up to provide expedited written responses to judicial candidates.


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Informal Guidance by Telephone

Those subject to the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct may call 1-866-795-8343 for informal guidance. Inquirers may also call Laura L. Smith, Esq. (Chief Counsel) at 1-212-428-2504, either of the Co-Chairs; and other Committee members or other staff counsel for assistance.

We encourage you to call us, and we actively welcome these phone calls so that we can assist you. However, it is best for you to speak with us directly; please do not delegate this function to support staff. Unless your inquiry is unambiguously covered by a specific rule and one or more prior opinions, significant facts and circumstances may come to light only when we discuss an inquiry directly with the inquiring judge.

Although informal guidance and discussions by telephone can often be very helpful to the inquiring judge, please note that such discussions do not provide the protections of Judiciary Law §212(2)(l).

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Inquiry Status

Once the Committee meets and decides your inquiry, you may call us at 1-866-795-8343 to learn the disposition immediately by telephone.

A formal written opinion will follow in due course.

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Policy on Emailed Communications

The Committee now accepts formal inquiries via email to part100@nycourts.gov, to help you ensure the propriety of your own conduct under Part 100 going forward. Please do not ask others to ask questions on your behalf, as we need to hear directly from the affected judge.

  • Unless your inquiry pertains to judicial campaign ethics, please do not send inquiries to any other email address, as it may be misdirected or overlooked.  
  • Confirmation of Receipt: We will make every effort to confirm receipt within three business days.   
  • Judicial Stationery: Please use your official nycourts.gov email address and/or write your letter on your official judicial stationery, to help confirm your identity.
  • Telephone Numbers: As always, please include two telephone numbers so we can clarify facts or circumstances as needed.  
  • Judicial Title: Please state what judicial position(s) you hold, if not otherwise fully displayed on your letterhead or the signature block of your email.  
  • Mailing Address: Please include your preferred mailing address, if not otherwise fully displayed on your letterhead or the signature block of your email.
  • Timing: We cannot provide an "informal" written response to emailed inquiries; all inquiries must be decided by the Committee at a regularly scheduled meeting.

Judicial Campaign Ethics Questions: Email is also permitted for judicial campaign ethics inquiries; the Judicial Campaign Ethics Center is authorized to accept written inquiries concerning judicial campaign ethics issues by email, fax, or regular mail.


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Accessing Prior Opinions

The Committee's published opinions are searchable online and on Westlaw. In addition, many opinions are sent to the Buffalo Law Journal, the Magistrate, the New York Daily Record, and/or the New York Law Journal.

A few resources for searching: