The New York State Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics responds to written inquiries from New York's approximately 3,600 judges and justices, as well as hundreds of judicial hearing officers, support magistrates, court attorney-referees, and judicial candidates (i.e., judges and non-judges seeking election to judicial office). The Advisory Committee interprets the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct (22 NYCRR Part 100) and, to the extent applicable, the Code of Judicial Conduct.
The Advisory Committee was formed in 1987 to help New York State's judges and justices adhere to the high standards set forth in the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct. The Judiciary Law provides that any action a judge takes in accordance with a formal advisory opinion of the Advisory Committee is "presumed proper" for purposes of any subsequent investigation by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct. The Committee has issued approximately 140 to 220 formal opinions annually in response to questions from judges, justices and quasi-judicial officers.
The Honorable George D. Marlow, Justice of the Supreme Court for the Ninth Judicial District (ret.) and former Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department, and the Honorable Margaret T. Walsh, Judge of the Albany County Family Court and Acting Justice of the Supreme Court for the Third Judicial District, are the Committee's Co-chairs. The Honorable Betty W. Ellerin, Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department (ret.) is Vice Chair.
Seeking Advice. Please see Get Advice for detailed guidance and instructions on requesting a formal or informal opinion.
Judicial Campaign Ethics Subcommittee
In response to recommendations of the New York State Commission to Promote Public Confidence in Judicial Elections, the Advisory Committee established a five-judge Judicial Campaign Ethics Subcommittee which works closely with the Judicial Campaign Ethics Center to review and respond to ethical inquiries from judicial candidates about their own prospective campaign conduct on an expedited basis.
The Honorable Edward P. Borrelli (ret.) is Chair of the Subcommittee.
Judicial candidates, whether or not they are sitting judges, may obtain expedited consideration of their campaign ethics inquiries by contacting the JCEC.
No Affiliation with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct
As its name suggests, the Advisory Committee issues advisory opinions to judges and justices concerning their own prospective conduct.
The Committee is not authorized to investigate complaints or to discipline judges. To the contrary, our sole mission is to help judges comply with the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct. The Committee must treat judges' requests for advice as confidential "notwithstanding any other provisions of law," and its deliberations are "totally confidential" under Judiciary Law 212(2)(l)(iii).
The interplay between the Committee's advisory opinions and the disciplinary process is set forth in Judiciary Law 212(2)(l)(iv) (emphasis added):
Actions of any judge or justice of the uniform court system taken in accordance with findings or recommendations contained in an advisory opinion issued by the [Advisory Committee] shall be presumed proper for the purposes of any subsequent investigation by the state commission on judicial conduct.
For information about the Commission on Judicial Conduct ("the disciplinary agency constitutionally designated to review complaints of judicial misconduct in New York State"), please visit its website at www.scjc.state.ny.us.