The Fund for Modern Courts has recently made a recommendation to judges in the State of New York. They have recommended to judges, who have accepted a campaign contribution of $1,000 or more from a lawyer or an interested party in a case, to recuse themselves from handling the case. Previously, in 2003, a commission in New York State recommended a $500 cut off for judges to recuse themselves. This suggestion was not accepted by New York Judges.

The best method for eliminating questions involving favoritism related to campaign contributions would be for the State of New York to set up a well thought out politically independent merit selection process for judges. This would eliminate the need for judges to campaign. It would also remove any question as to judicial favoritism regarding campaign contributors.

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq.

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