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Special Ethical Considerations for Judges and Legal Practitioners Who are Actively Involved in Houses of Worship

Total Credits
1.5 - 2.2
CDs/DVDs Only
This course is only available in CD/DVD format.
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Join us for a fascinating discussion which will explore the ethical considerations surrounding the conduct and choices made by judges and practitioners who are actively involved in their houses of worship. The expert panel will discuss a series of hypotheticals that illustrate the types of situations that may arise and the considerations involved in resolving the dilemmas.

Some of the areas to be explored include: involvement in extra-judicial activities at the house of worship; effect on sentencing decisions; disqualification or recusal; effect on attorney’s career choices; and dealing with client demands.

Lecturer Bios

Sarah Jo Hamilton

Ms. Hamilton received a B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University and a J.D. degree from St. Johns School of Law. Currently, she serves as Executive Director, Office of Character and Fitness, New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department. Ms. Hamilton has served as a member, Committee on Professional Responsibility, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and member, Committee on Professional Discipline, New York State Bar Association. A member of the New York Bar, Ms. Hamilton is a frequent lecturer.

Hon. J. Machelle Sweeting

J. Machelle Sweeting is a Civil Court Judge assigned to the Family Court in New York County, where she presides over cases involving custody disputes, visitation, guardianship and family offense petitions. Judge Sweeting is committed to ensuring that equality and access to justice remain at the forefront of our legal system. Prior to ascending to the bench, she served with distinction as an Administrative Law Judge, a Special Referee, an Assistant Corporation Counsel, an Assistant District Attorney, and a Law Clerk to a Supreme Court and Appellate Justice. Judge Sweeting earned her law degree from Rutgers University School of Law and holds the unique distinction of being the only legal professional admitted to the Bar of New York, Washington DC, the 4th Circuit of Virginia, and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Judge Sweeting is involved in several local, state, and national civic organizations and is a member of the Bethany Baptist Church in Harlem. Judge Sweeting is former Vice President of the Law and Religion committee of the National Bar Association (NBA) and founding member of the Law and Religion Committee of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA), whose 2011 program: “How to Protect Your House of Worship from Liability” was named the most innovative legal program in New York State.

Sandra H. Buchanan, Esq.

Sandra H. Buchanan is Statewide Special Counsel for Ethics for the New York State Office of Court Administration. In that capacity, she is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the operations of the Judicial Campaign Ethics Center, which provides ethics advice to judicial candidates statewide, and the Non-Judicial Ethics Helpline, which provides ethics advice to non-judicial court employees, and for developing and conducting ethics training programs for judicial candidates and non-judicial employees. Additionally, Ms. Buchanan serves as staff counsel to the Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics. In 2007, Ms. Buchanan began her legal career as a Court Attorney at the New York State Court of Appeals and later became Senior Principal Law Clerk to Associate Judges Theodore T. Jones and Jenny Rivera of the New York State Court of Appeals. Prior to rejoining the Unified Court System in 2015, she was a commercial litigator at Rivkin Radler LLP. Ms. Buchanan obtained a Bachelor of Arts in French with a citation in International Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Juris Doctor summa cum laude from Touro Law Center, where she was a member of the Law Review and a teaching assistant for the Legal Education Access Program.

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