Part 151 - Rules Governing the Assignment of Cases
Involving Contributions to Judicial Campaigns
Part 151 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator, effective as of July 15, 2011, restricts the assignment of cases where participating litigants, counsel or firms made significant campaign contributions to the assigned judge, for a period of two years from the date the State Board of Elections first publishes a record of the contribution.
Under the rule, cases will not be newly assigned or reassigned to any judge for whom the case raises a "campaign contribution conflict" – that is, where an individual party or attorney involved in the case has contributed $2500 or more to the assigned judge, or a group of participating attorneys and their client have collectively contributed $3500 to the judge within the prior two years (with a slightly different time period for newly-elected judges).
A case may be assigned to a judge despite a Part 151 campaign contribution conflict in the event of emergency, where required by the rule of necessity, or where the interests of justice require. Moreover, a non-contributing party may also waive the conflict and accept the assignment.
Part 151 is an assignment rule, not a recusal rule. Nothing in Part 151 abridges the right of any party to move for recusal of a judge at any time. Nor does the new rule change the procedure or standards for such an application. Finally, Part 151 neither increases nor decreases the ethical obligations of a judge or judicial candidate under the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct (Part 100).
In cases where an assignment is made to a judge erroneously notwithstanding a conflict under Part 151, that assignment remains valid. Moreover, Part 151 creates no right, remedy or cause of action for any party or counsel. See Rule 151.1(A)(2).
See the documents below for the Rule and Related Information:
- Part 151, and the administrative order directing its implementation;
- The conflict notice notifying parties of the existence of a contribution conflict and their right to waive the conflict, as well as a model waiver form;
- Searches of the names of contributors and candidates may be made at the NYS Board of Elections website;
- The most recent report of significant campaign contributions to New York judges (Part 151 Report); and
- Attorney Directory.
Important: The information provided in the Part 151 Report is derived from data provided to the New York State Board of Elections and the Office of Court Administration. If you believe any information in the report to be inaccurate, please notify Counsel's Office at 518-474-7469 immediately.