Opinion 93-53

April 29, 1983

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.


Digest:         Family Court judges may be active in the Y.E.S. Mentoring Program in an advisory capacity, within the restrictions of 22 NYCRR 100.5(b)


Rules:          22 NYCRR 100.5(b)


         Three Family Court judges inquire whether they may continue to be active in the Youth Empowerment for Success (Y.E.S.) Mentoring Program, which was initiated approximately one year ago by the Kings County Family Court and has been administered by the Children’s Aid Society, although the Program has no formal structure. The inquiring judges also state that judges’ active participation appears to be necessary for the program’s survival. The judges inquire specifically whether they may:


1.Be incorporators of the Program;


2.Constitute an advisory board to an independent organization that administers the Program;


         3.       Be involved in administrative decision;


4.Be required to recuse themselves if a child in the Program appears before them; and


         5.       Be involved in fundraising activities.

         It is the opinion of this Committee that the judges may participate in the Program in an advisory capacity, provided that they comply with the restrictions in section 100.5(b) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator, which reads as follows:


(b) Civil and charitable activities. A judge may participate in civic and charitable activities that do not reflect adversely upon impartiality or interfere with the performance of judicial duties. A judge may serve as an officer, director, trustee or nonlegal advisor of an educational, religious, charitable, fraternal or civic organization not conducted for the economic or political advantage of its members, subject to the following limitations:


(1) A judge shall 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 use or permit the use of the prestige of the office for that purpose, but may be listed as an officer, director or trustee of such an organization; provided, however, that no such listing shall be used in connection with any solicitation of funds. No judge shall be a speaker or the guest of honor at an organization’s fund raising events, but he or she may attend such events. Nothing in this Part shall be deemed to prohibit a judge form being a speaker or guest of honor at a bar association or law school function.


(3) A judge shall not give investment advice to such an organization, but he or she may serve on its board of directors or trustees even though it has the responsibility for approving investment decisions.