January 29, 2004
Digest: A judge may not “adopt” a military unit in the name of the court, nor may the judge permit court employees assigned to him/her to do so, where the purpose of such activity is to raise funds for charitable purposes.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.2(C) 100.4 (C)(3)(b)(I) Opinions 94-58 (Vol. XII).
A County Court judge inquires whether it is permissible for the judge’s part, to “adopt” a military unit stationed in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Specifically, the judge states:
The practice of adopting military units is so venerable, of such frequency and so factually unique, it is apparent that had the drafters of the rules wished to prohibit such conduct on the part of the court, they would have done so specifically.
The Committee has been advised that certain funds have been established to assist the families of deployed troops and that financial contributions may be made to these funds.
The Committee is of the opinion that neither the judge nor court employees assigned to the judge may adopt a military unit in the name of the court. As laudable as such an activity may be, sponsorship by the judge or by court employees, in the name of the court, would be lending the prestige of the court to a particular charitable endeavor in violation of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct. 22 NYCRR 100.2(C); 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i) Opinion 94-58 (Vol. XII).