Opinion 07-79

June 7, 2007


Digest:         A part-time judge may serve as an adjunct college professor and engage in employment as a free-lance actor.


Rules:          22 NYCRR 100.4(A); 100.4(B) 100.4(D)(1)(a); 100.4(D)(3); 100.6(B)(4); Opinions 05-149; 99-145 (Vol. XVII); 99-86 (Vol. XVIII); 95-105 (Vol. XIII); 94-116 (Vol. XIII); 92-05 (Vol. IX).


         A part-time village justice inquires as to whether he/she may continue his/her employment as an adjunct professor at two local colleges and as a free-lance actor on stage, screen and television.

         The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct allow part-time judges to accept private employment, or public employment in a federal, state or municipal department or agency, provided that such employment is not incompatible with judicial office and does not conflict or interfere with the proper performance of the judge’s duties. 22 NYCRR 100.6(B)(4). In addition, the Rules also allow a judge to speak, write, lecture, and teach, subject to the requirements of this part. 22 NYCRR 100.4(B). The judge therefore, may continue to serve as an adjunct college professor subject to the limitations specified in the Rules and our prior opinions. Opinions 95-105 (Vol. XIII); 92-05 (Vol. IX).

         Regarding the judge’s employment as a free-lance actor, this Committee previously determined that a full-time judge could not act in a television commercial or participate in a television production based upon the judge’s life, because full-time judges are prohibited from being an “active participant” in a “business entity.” 22 NYCRR 100.4(D)(3). Opinions 99-86 (Vol. XVIII); 94-116 (Vol. XIII).


         This prohibition does not, however, apply to part-time judges. Thus, it would not be improper for this part-time judge to continue extra-judicial employment as a free-lance actor, provided that such activity does not detract from the dignity of judicial office or interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties. 22 NYCRR 100.4(A); 100.6(B)(4). This Committee notes, however, that any promotion of the performance or program must not exploit the judge’s judicial position. 22 NYCRR 100.4(D)(1)(a); Opinions 05-149; 99-145 (Vol. XVII).