All judges of courts of record – that is, all courts except town and village courts – and all non-incumbent candidates seeking election to courts of record – are required by law to file annual financial disclosure statements, like those filed by other state officials and state government employees. Section 211(4) of the Judiciary Law and Section 40.2 of the Rules of the Chief Judge require judges to file an annual financial disclosure statement by May 15 of each succeeding year.  Section 100.5(A)(4)(g) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct require a judicial candidate to file a financial disclosure statement “within 20 days following the date on which the judge or non-judge becomes such a candidate.”

The Ethics Commission for the Unified Court System (UCS Ethics) is responsible for administering the distribution, collection, review and maintenance of annual financial disclosure statements. The powers, duties and procedures of the UCS Ethics are set forth in 22 NYCRR Parts 40 and 7400.

Full-time judges are also obliged under the Rules to report extra-judicial compensation annually to the clerk of the courts on which they sit.  22 NYCRR 100.4(H)(2).

When a judge is late in submitting the annual statement and fails to respond to a “notice to cure,” UCS Ethics is required to issue a “notice of delinquency” and to notify the Commission, pursuant to Section 40.1(k) of the Rules of the Chief Judge.  Where investigation by the Commission reveals a valid excuse, discipline would not be imposed. Where the explanations are not persuasive1 but the delinquency was a first-time oversight and the judge promptly files upon receipt of the UCS Ethics notice, the Commission may issue a confidential Letter of Dismissal and Caution.  However, where there are aggravating circumstances with respect to a judge’s financial disclosure statements, such as multiple instances of late filings or filings that contain material inaccuracies, public discipline may result.  See, Matter of McAndrews, 2014 Annual Report 157; Matter of Nora S. Anderson, 2013 Annual Report 75; Matter of Joseph S. Alessandro, 13 NY3d 238 (2009); Matter of Francis M. Alessandro, Id.; Matter of John J. Elliott, 2003 Annual Report 107; Matter of Robert T. Russell, Jr., 2001 Annual Report 121; and Matter of Bernard Burstein, 1994 Annual Report 57.


1 It is not an excuse that the judge was busy, misplaced the disclosure form, did not check the mail or was distracted by personal matters, particularly if the judge was otherwise fulfilling the responsibilities of office.

From the 2019 Annual Report, pages 21-22.