October 13, 2009
This responds to your inquiry (09-153) asking whether it is ethically permissible for you to continue your efforts to create a permanent memorial to honor the victims of a plane crash. You indicate that you are the president of a corporation which was formed to collect funds raised by others and to disburse them for the purposes of constructing and maintaining the memorial and donating them to families of victims who are in need. You further indicate that neither you nor the corporation will engage in any fund raising nor will your name be used in any fund raising activities.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct do not prohibit a judge from participating in charitable extra-judicial activities provided the activities do not cast doubt on the judge’s ability to act impartially, the organization is not likely to be engaged in proceedings which may come before the judge, and the judge is not directly involved in any fund raising (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[A]; 100.4[C][a][i]; 100.4[C][b][i]). Enclosed, for your convenience are Opinions 08-187, 07-133 and 98-145 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow
Justice of the Supreme Court (Ret.)