Opinion 94-147

December 14, 1995


Digest:         A full-time judge may attend a nonfundraising dinner of a local community service agency which provides service to higher court and also be honored with twenty-four other persons for volunteer services. However, the judge should not permit the use of his/her name in solicitation of ads in a journal.


Rule:            22 NYCRR 100.5(b)(2)


         A full-time judge inquires if it is permissible to attend a dinner sponsored by a local community service agency to honor twenty-five persons, including the judge, for volunteer service to the court. The dinner also observes the twenty fifth anniversary of the agency. The dinner is not a fund raiser. The price of a ticket covers the cost.

         However, in connection with the dinner, a journal is published to raise funds for the agency through purchase of ads therein. The journal will be distributed free at the dinner.

         The organization plans to send out requests for the purchase of advertisements in the journal. The requests will list all twenty-five honorees, including the judge.

         Section 100.5, Rules of the Chief Judge (22 NYCRR) provides in part:


(b) a judge may participate in civic and charitable activities that do not reflect adversely upon impartiality or interfere with the performance of judicial duties....


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...


No judge shall be a speaker or the guest of honor at an organization’s fundraising events, but he or she may attend such events."...

         The judge is informed by the director of the agency that the dinner is not a fundraiser. The price of the dinner barely covers its cost. As a civic activity it is therefore permissible for the judge to attend and receive recognition as a member of his/her service to the agency.

         The judge also inquires if his/her name may be included with the other honorees in a mailing for ads in the journal to be distributed at the dinner. Since seeking advertisements for the journal is a form of solicitation of funds it would be inappropriate for his/her name to be included in the mailing.

         Accordingly, the Committee concludes that the judge may attend the dinner and receive recognition as an honoree but should not permit the use of his/her name in the solicitation of ads for use in the journal.