All candidates for election to judicial office, other than those for town or village court justice, are required by the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct to complete an approved education program “no later than 30 days after receiving the nomination for judicial office.”  22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(4)(f).  The education program, which may be completed in person, by video or internet correspondence course, is administered by the Judicial Campaign Ethics Center (JCEC), a subdivision of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics.

Every year, the Commission is advised of numerous candidates who did not fulfill this obligation on time or at all.  While it appears that most candidates meet this responsibility in a timely fashion, some have claimed confusion as to their deadline due a purported ambiguity in the rule’s definition of “nomination.” 

The applicable rule defines the nomination date “for candidates running in a primary election” as the “date upon which the candidate files a designating petition with the Board of Elections.”  Id.  However, some candidates who were unopposed in their political party’s primary have claimed this definition is confusing, and they have assumed their 30-day clock begins on the date their party officially nominates them, which may be on or after the date on which primaries for other office were held.  Others who have sought election to judicial office for which there is a nominating convention or caucus but no primary have also said that the dates on which their parties register their candidacies may differ from a rival party’s filing dates.

The solution for resolving any such perceived ambiguity is simple.  The candidate or candidate’s representative should consult with the JCEC.  The JCEC’s protocol is to respond promptly to campaign-related inquiries because time is usually of the essence. Moreover, the JCEC web page should be consulted routinely for its valuable links to such documents as the Judicial Campaign Ethics Handbook, recently published Advisory Opinions and guidelines on the appropriate way to dispose of unexpended campaign funds.  http://ww2.nycourts.gov/ip/jcec.

From the 2019 Annual Report, page 21.