September 22, 2011
This responds to your inquiry (11-66) asking whether and to what extent you may participate in an annual outing sponsored by a school in your relative’s honor.
The renaming of this event in your relative’s honor does not implicate any judicial ethical concerns as the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct do not apply to members of a judge’s family. Further, as the Rules do not prohibit family members from participating in activities which are impermissible for judges, your spouse may be on the outing committee and participate in planning the event.
The Rules, however, prohibit a judge from personally soliciting funds (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C][b][i], [iv]) or otherwise advertising or promoting his/her judicial title to advance his/her own private interests or the interests of others (see 22 NYCRR 100.2[C]). Therefore, you may not directly solicit funds, your name should not appear on the invitation, and you may not send out any invitations. While you may assist in fund-raising by suggesting names for the mailing list, you may not be named as the referrer (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C][b][i]). Finally, you may attend the event, but may not otherwise advertise your presence (see 22 NYCRR 100.2[C]; 22 NYCRR 100.4[C][b][ii]).
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 06-142 and 05-66 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)