April 25, 1996
Digest: A town judge may not place a sign stating his/her name and judicial title, in the advertising section of a Little League field, but may have a message inserted in the journal of a charitable organization.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.2 (C); 100.5(A) (2)(ii); Opinion 92-70 (Vol. IX), 92-84 (Vol. IX),94-25 (Vol. XII).
A town judge, who is not campaigning for re-election, inquires whether or not it is a violation of Section 100.2 (c) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct to place a 4' x 4' sign in the advertising section on the fence of a local Little League field, stating “Compliments of John Doe, Town Justice”.
Whether the advertisement violates the section quoted by the inquiring judge is immaterial since the ad violates the spirit, if not the letter of section 100.5 and specifically 100.5(A)(2)(ii) which states that during the Window Period, “newspapers, television and other media advertisements supporting his or her candidacy” are permissible. Clearly placing an ad in such a highly visible and semi-permanent location as suggested would constitute advertising and campaigning during a period disallowed by the Rules.
The judge also seeks an opinion as to whether or not the same language could be placed in an ad in a charitable journal. This Committee has previously advised that it is permissible for the judge to contribute to a charity and place congratulatory ads or messages in journals. See Opinions 94-25 (Vol. XII); 92-70 (Vol. IX); 92-84 (Vol. IX).