September 7, 2006
Note: Please review Joint Opinion 09-240/09-241/10-06 in connection with this opinion.
Digest: Under the stated circumstances, a judge may attend the inauguration of a personal friend who was recently elected to a governmental position in a foreign country.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.2(A); 100.4(A); 100.5(A)(1)(g); Opinion 98-12 (Vol. XVI).
The inquiring Civil Court judge has been invited to the inaugural celebration of a personal friend who was elected to a governmental office in a foreign country. The celebration will take place in that country. The inquirer informs the Committee that no political party or body is sponsoring the event, that there will be no fundraising at the event, and that admission is free.
We conclude that the inquirer may attend the event. There is no indication that the judge’s attendance would conflict with the inquirer’s judicial obligations in violation of 22 NYCRR 100.4(A), nor has the inquirer presented any facts demonstrating that his/her attendance would create an appearance of impropriety in violation of 22 NYCRR 100.2(A). Likewise, the inquirer has stated that no political organization is sponsoring the function.
Therefore, the inquiring judge may attend the event without violating 22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(1)(g), which prohibits a judge from attending political gatherings. Opinion 98-12 (Vol. XVI).