Opinion 04-57

April 22, 2004


Digest:         Under the circumstances, a judge who is the recipient of an unadvertised award at a church’s anniversary celebration, which is a fund-raising event: (1) may have his/her biography included in a pamphlet that includes the biographies of the honorees and is distributed at the event, but not beforehand, and (2) may permit the use of his/her judicial title in the announcement of the judge’s presence and introducing of the judge at the event.


Rules:          22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(ii).


         The inquiring judge is to be the recipient of an award at a church’s 20th anniversary celebration. The event is a fund-raiser; tickets are being sold beforehand and there will be a journal distributed at the event. The church has been informed and agrees that the judge’s “name cannot appear on the event tickets or on any advertisement associated with the event (i.e. flyers, journals, newspapers).”

         Thus, given the unadvertised nature of the award, the judge may be a guest of honor at the event. 22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(ii). The judge, however, asks whether his/her biography may be placed in a pamphlet, along with the biographies of the other honorees, which will be distributed at the event, but not beforehand. Under the circumstances, the Committee does not view the inclusion of the judge’s biography as in any way contravening the prohibition against judicial involvement in fund-raising. It is not being distributed prior to the event; tickets have already been sold; and the souvenir journal has been printed. Thus, there is no danger of the judge’s name being used to promote fund-raising.

         Further, the judge asks how his/her “presence is to be announced” i.e., whether his/her judicial title may be used. Again, the Committee does not view the use of the judge’s title at the event, in announcing his/her presence or in introducing the honorees, as in any way implicating the judge in a forbidden solicitation of funds.