Opinion 89-24

May 25, 1989


Topic:          A firm which prepares and distributes bar association directories containing commercial advertising is to prepare and distribute such a directory for a county magistrates’ association.


Digest:         A county magistrates’ association or its members should not participate in the preparation of a directory of its members to be prepared and distributed by a profit-making firm, where the directory contains commercial advertising and is prepared and distributed by the firm for profit.


Rules:          22 NYCRR 100.2(c)


         A county magistrates’ association asks whether the association and its members may participate in the preparation of a directory, which will list the names and addresses and contain photographs of all town and village justices in the county, as well as judges of other courts, to be prepared and distributed within the county by a firm which prepares and distributes similar bar directories. The publication would be financed primarily by accepting commercial advertising and by a minimal charge on each person photographed. The judges would not engage in any solicitation of advertisers nor would their names be used for such purpose by the firm.

         The Committee recognizes the possible value to the public of such a directory, but notes that all the information to be contained therein readily is available to the public from other official sources. In any event, the Committee believes that the inclusion of commercial advertising in this profit-making venture prohibits judges or the magistrates’ association from participation, in light of section 100.2(c) of the Rules of Judicial Conduct (22 NYCRR 100.2[c]), which provides that no judge shall lend the prestige of his or her office to advance the interests of others (in this case, of advertisers and the publisher).


         The facts here clearly are distinguishable from those discussed in Opinion 88-79, wherein the Committee decided that it is permissible to include a judge’s resume and photo, as an alumnus or alumnae, in a University brochure.

         Perhaps thought could be given in this county to providing a judicial directory for citizens in same other manner and form.