March 10, 1994
Digest: A part-time town justice who is a member of and the space coordinator for a local church may continue in such activity and sign bills sent to groups using the space. The judge should not use the judge’s judicial title in signing such bills or in correspondence relating to such activity.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §100.5(b)
A part-time town justice asks whether it is ethically permissible to supervise the renting out of space for a church, and sign bills for the collection of rent for that space. Further, the judge inquires whether it is proper to merely assign the rented space and act as a liaison between the tenants and the church, presumably for the resolution of non-financial issues.
The committee is of the opinion that a judge may send out bills for rent on behalf of a church, in that such activity would not constitute a solicitation of funds for a charitable institution which is prohibited by 22 NYCRR §100.5(b)(2).
A judge may assist in the other internal church activities surrounding the space apportionment and renting. A judge is permitted to serve as advisor to a religious organization and may participate in such activities that do not reflect adversely upon his or her impartiality. 22 NYCRR §100.5(b). Neither in the sending out of bills nor in other related activities should the judge use his judicial title.