Here is what the website of the New York State Administration says about retirement of attorneys from the practice of law:
So, full-time judges are deemed retired from the practice of law and may not practice law as a requirement of two provisions:
I. New York State Constitution:
- Article VI paragraph 20.b(4)
- b. A judge of the court of appeals, justice of the supreme court, judge of the court of claims, judge of a county court, judge of the surrogate's court, judge of the family court or judge of a court for the city of New York established pursuant to section fifteen of this article who is elected or appointed after the effective date of this article may not (4) engage in the practice of law, act as an arbitrator, referee or compensated mediator in any action or proceeding or matter or engage in the conduct of any other profession or business which interferes with the performance of his or her judicial duties.
- "(2) In addition to any temporary assignments
pursuant to paragraph one of this subdivision,
such judge also may be temporarily assigned
by the chief administrator of the courts to the
county court, the family court or the district court
within his or her county of residence or any
adjoining county provided he or she is not
permitted to practice law."
II. 22 NYCRR 118.1(g)
Yet, despite the above requirements of the law, judges give legal advice left and right to litigants, their attorneys, engage in secretly giving legal advice to friend and family members and, when caught red-handed, claim that they really did not do any harm, as Judge Robert Harlem said in his affidavit to the Otsego County Surrogate Nettie Scarzafawa (see my blog post the Blanding saga).
This is what the retired Judge Robert Harlem said in his affidavit to the Otsego County Surrogate's Court:
Apparently, it is not enough for the judge that he has violated his constitutional oath of office and the court rule pertaining to full-time judges deemed to be "retired" from the practice of law, 22 NYCRR 118.1(g), with all consequences of such retirement, that a retired attorney may not continue to practice for a fee.
The fee of Judge Harlem from Beatrice Blanding was tremendous see the will he has drafted with multiple bequest to himself listed in the Blanding saga post.
Yet, to Judge Harlem, violating the State Constitution, the court rule and his own oath of office to uphold the State Constitution is not bad enough, and he is trying to justify himself by his closeness to the decedent and by not having "impure motives". Obviously, self-bequests of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property was not impure motives in the late Judge Harlem's eyes.
Judge Nettie Scarzafawa accepted that argument, did not sanction the retired judge and her own predecessor for unauthorized practice of law and defrauding the court, and, soon after that decision, stepped down from the bench in 2000, allegedly to take care of her elderly mother.
Retired Judge Nettie Jean Scarzafava was married to John Scarzafava until his death in 2014. John Scarzafava was hired by Richard Harlem as a trial attorney in the Mokay action, a complete discqualification of which Richard Harlem knew.
Richard Harlem also hired the law firm of my husband's disciplinary prosecutor (who was supposed to prosecute Richard Harlem and his father on my husband's complaint about their fraud).
John Scarzafava had the good grace to eventually refuse to represent the Mokay plaintiffs in the Mokay saga.
John Casey's law firm, Hiscock & Barclay of Albany, NY, didn't have such good grace, and continue to claim attorney fees (which Judge Lebous, retaliating against exposure for his personnel's ex parte communications with Richard Harlem's attorney, granted).
John Casey and his law firm are exposed at this time to liability for antitrust violations, based on the U.S. Supreme Court's new pronouncement in North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC in February of this year. We will see how that lawsuit will proceed.
The interesting part about availability of discipline against judges practicing law is that attorney disciplinary committees refuse to prosecute them, claiming that any conduct committed by a judge during his or her judgeship is subject to only judicial discipline and not attorney discipline.
An even more interesting part is that retired judges who discharge judicial functions as judicial hearing officers are not subject to judicial discipline, because they are no longer sitting judges (and the New York State Commission for Judicial Conduct claims it does not have jurisdiction over their discipline) and are not disciplined by attorney disciplinary committees, because for attorney disciplinary committees such retired judges appointed as referees or judicial hearing officers are still "judges" and, as such, are beyond attorney discipline.
Attorney discipline and judicial discipline in New York are two fascinating subjects...
Now, try violating the law and then appearing in a court of law, admitting the violation, but claiming that you really did not have impure motives to violate the law.
See how far you will get with that argument if your are not a judge.
Of course, you should choose to run this experiment in your mind - if you are not a judge. It may have dire consequences for you, because not only your lack of "impure motives" does not matter if you violated the law, and knowledge of the law that you violated is PRESUMED in EVERY PERSON - and, of course, it was presumed in a Supreme Court judge and Chief Administrative Judge of the 6th Administrative District, as Robert Harlem was.
So - once again, let's raise our glasses for the rule of law in the State of New York that exists in our aspirations - and nowhere else.