If you've ever considered becoming a judge, you may want to think twice. The campaign process is highly regulated and riddled with technicalities. It's so convoluted and complex that all judicial candidates--except those for town or village justice--are required to attend a "judicial ethics education program." The many issues addressed by the program include:
pre-candidacy activities;We were recently able to secure a copy of the "Judicial Campaign Ethics Handbook," which was distributed at one of the training events.
endorsements by political parties, caucuses and PACS;
attendance at gatherings;
proper use of campaign funds;
campaign advertising; and
You might be surprised by some of the content. For example, did you know that once a judge is elected, any unexpended campaign funds may be used to purchase "office equipment or furniture" (like "computers, word processors, microphones, telephone answering machines, judicial robes, carpeting, office equipment or office furniture for chambers, video equipment, etc."), and, that these items become the property of the New York State Unified Court System?
According to the Handbook, "Any items so purchased must be specified and donated [by the Judge] in writing to the local District Administrative Judge."
Anyone in the market for a used pink leather couch?
For a copy of the Judicial Campaign Ethics Handbook, please click on the following link:
Judicial Campaign Ethics Handbook
By the way, the New York City Bar--formerly known as the "Association of the Bar of the City of New York"--is conducting a special program on Saturday, December 2, 2006, entitled "How to Become a Judge." According to promotional materials that have been distributed by the Association, more than 30 state and federal judges will be speaking about: Supreme and Civil Courts, Family and Criminal Courts, Federal Court, Housing Court, Judicial Screening Committees and Judicial Campaign Ethics. The Honorable Philip S. Straniere (Supervising Judge, Richmond County) is program chair, the Honorable Judith Kaye (Chief Judge, New York State Court of Appeals) is the scheduled keynote speaker. The cost for the entire 6 1/2 hour program (which includes lunch) is only $25 for members, $35 for non-members.
For additional information about this special event, please click on the following links: How to Become a Judge or Event Flyer