NOTE: MODIFIED BY RULE 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i)
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct were amended in 1996. Rule 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i) now provides as follows:
(b) A judge as an officer, director, trustee or non-legal advisor, or a member or otherwise:
(i) may assist such an organization [an organization devoted to the law, the legal system or the administration of justice or an educational, religious, charitable, cultural, fraternal or civic organization not conducted for profit] in planning fund-raising and may participate in the management and investment of the organization's funds, but shall not personally participate in the solicitation of funds or other fund-raising activities.
Topic: Town justice serving as member of the criminal justice curriculum advisory committee of a community college and on the board of directors of a charitable organization.
Digest: A judge may serve on the community college advisory committee and on the board of a charitable organization. However, he may not solicit funds nor participate in fundraising for the charity, nor permit the use of the prestige of his office for that purpose.
Rules: 22NYCRR §§ 100.2 (a),100.5 (b); Canons 2A and 2B of the Code of Judicial Ethics.
The question posed is whether a town justice may serve as a member of the criminal justice curriculum advisory committee of a local community college and as a member of the board of directors of a charitable organization?
A town justice may serve as a member of the criminal justice curriculum advisory committee of a community college and as a member of the board of directors for a charity pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 100.5 (b). This rule in pertinent part provides:
A judge may serve as an officer, director, trustee or nonlegal advisor of an educational, religious , charitable, fraternal, or civil organization not conducted for the economic or political advantage of its members, subject to the following limitations. [Emphasis supplied].
(1) A judge may not serve if it is likely that the organization will be engaged in proceedings that would ordinarily come before him or her or will be regularly engaged in adversary proceedings in any court.
(2) No judge shall solicit funds for any educational, religious, charitable, fraternal or civic organization or permit the use o the prestige of the office for that purpose . . . .
(3) A judge shall not give investment advice to such organization, but he or she may serve on its board of directors or trustees even though it has the responsibility for approving investment decisions.
It is unlikely that the college or the charity will be a party to litigation appearing before the town justice. However, pursuant to section 100.2 (a), (c) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator, the town justice, as board member or as advisory committee member, should refrain from participating in decisions of those bodies that are likely to cause extensive public controversy, particularly where it is likely that litigation may result (see, Opinion 88-98 and 88-119 of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics). In addition, the justice cannot solicit funds for the charitable organization, nor participate in any fundraising activity.