December 14, 1995
Digest: A judge may not serve on a Board of Directors of a not-for-profit corporation which offers financial support for prosecution of family offenses.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.5(b)(1), 100.2
A City Court Judge inquires concerning a request that the judge serve on a Board of Directors of a not-for-profit corporation associated generally with assisting victims of domestic violence.
The judge understands the prohibitions concerning fund-raising but inquires about the enumerated purposes of the corporation. One of the purposes states as follows:
To assist individuals referred from law enforcement agencies and prosecutors by providing emotional and financial support necessary to allow successful prosecution of individuals chargeddwith family offenses.
The purpose quoted, in addition to other goals of the organization, conflict with 22 NYCRR 100.5(b)(1), which states that “A judge shall not serve if it is likely that the organization will be engages in proceedings that would ordinarily come before him or her or will be regularly engaged in adversary proceedings in any court.” It would also conflict with 22 NYCRR 100.2 which directs that a judge shall conduct himself or herself in a manner which “promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.”
Although the inquiring judge is a City Court, not a Family Court judge, it would appear probable that assault-type offenses related to family conflict would reach his courtroom. Therefore, the judge should not accept appointment to the board.
This Committee has previously issued opinions concerning the impropriety of judges attending and assisting in training programs sponsored by law enforcement agencies which are designed to assist prosecutors in effectively performing their function. See Opinion 94-31, Volume XII, 93-58, Volume XI, 87-28, I.