NEW YORK STAE BAR ASSOCIATIONProfessional
Ethics Committee Opinion
Opinion #158 - 10/09/1970
Topic: Can a Judge Own an Interest in an Entity that Sells Liquors at
Retail or at a Bar?
Digest: A judge may own such an interest if it is legal and the
nature of such interest does not detract from the dignity of his
Code: EC 8-8; EC 9-2; DR 8-101(A); DR 9-101
The State Liquor Authority in interpreting Section 128 of the
Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, excludes judges from holding an interest
in an entity that sells alcoholic beverages.
Is it unethical for a judge to have an interest as stockholder or
otherwise in a corporation holding a retail on premises license to sell
liquors and wines?
It would be unethical for a judge to hold such an interest if it is
illegal, or if the nature of his interest or the nature or reputation of
the establishment where the beverages are sold are such as to detract
from the dignity of his position, or if there is any possibility of a
conflict. Otherwise, such ownership would not be unethical.