March 15, 2017
This responds to your inquiry (17-01) asking whether it is ethically permissible 1) to be a certified soccer referee member of a private, not-for-profit referees’ association; 2) to accept assignments from the association to serve as a referee at soccer games; and 3) to accept reasonable compensation ($40-$80 per game) for service as a referee. The teams, which pay the referees at each game, are also private clubs.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct do not prohibit a full-time judge from serving as a sports referee for an educational institution as an extra-judicial activity.1 However, the judge may not engage in fund-raising or other prohibited activities, and the permitted activity must not interfere with his/her judicial duties.
The Rules prohibit a full-time judge from being an “active participant of any business entity,” subject to certain exceptions which are not applicable here (22 NYCRR 100.4[D]). Thus, if this activity becomes so extensive that it rises to the level of a business, you may no longer participate.
A full-time judge may receive compensation for permissible extra-judicial activities provided such compensation does not exceed “a reasonable amount” or “exceed what a person who is not a judge would receive for the same activity” (22 NYCRR 100.4[H]). In addition, any compensation in excess of $150.00 is subject to reporting requirements set forth in 22 NYCRR 100.4[H]).
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 14-46; 12-177; 12-24 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Div., First Dep’t (Ret.)
Hon. Margaret T. Walsh
Family Court Judge
Acting Justice, Supreme Court
1 The Committee notes that the prohibition against receiving compensation for extra-judicial activities performed for or on behalf a school, college or university that is financially supported primarily by New York State is inapplicable here (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[H][c])