December 11, 1990
Digest: A judge may not accept a complimentary ticket to an organization’s dinner when the judge wrote a decision benefitting the organization.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §§100.2; 100.5(b)(2)
A full-time judge presided over hearings which resulted in a civic organization obtaining a lease in an historic city owned building. The civic organization was not a party in the proceedings before the judge. The organization has given the judge two complimentary tickets to a benefit dinner to support the restoration of the building. The judge inquires about the ethical propriety of attending the dinner.
Although judges may attend civic organizations’ fundraising events, [22 NYCRR §100.5(b)(5], section 100.2 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator requires that judges avoid the appearance of impropriety and avoid conveying the impression that they are in the position to advance the private interests of others. Attending the dinner of an organization which benefitted from a decision of the judge, even though the organization was not a party, may convey the impression that the judge is receiving a reward from the organization for rendering a favorable decision. Accordingly, under these circumstances, the judge should not attend the dinner.