June 16, 1994
Digest: A judge may participate in community, civic and charitable endeavors as a volunteer providing services, so long as the activity is not of a partisan political nature.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.5(b)
A full-time judge has been asked to participate in a new community volunteer project organized by a local assemblyman. The purpose of the effort is to encourage joint volunteer activities among elected officials in the county. The officials, Including the inquiring judge, would be asked to perform services at different non-profit agencies on a monthly basis. This would include such activities as visiting residents of an old-age home, preparing and serving meals to the needy, assisting in health screening tests, and other civic and charitable endeavors.
The Committee is of the opinion that the judge may participate as a volunteer in such events, provided that the activity is not of a partisan political nature. Rule 100.5(b) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator allows a judge to “participate in civic and charitable activities that do not reflect adversely upon impartiality or interfere with the performance of judicial duties.” The activities contemplated in this instance as set forth in the submission appear not to contravene that standard.