Opinion: 97-79

September 11, 1997

Digest:  A judge may be the guest of honor at the dinner of a high school from which the judge was graduated where the event is not a fund-raiser and it is not anticipated that there will be a differential between the cost of a ticket and the expenses incurred.

Rule:  22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(b)(ii);
           Opinion: 96-122 (Vol. XIV).


            The inquiring full-time judge is a graduate of a parochial high school, which is also attended by the judge's children. At its annual dinner, the school intends to honor its past principal and the inquirer, and their names will be added to a plaque of outstanding graduates, referred to as the Wall of Fame. The dinner is not a fund-raising event, but is intended to bring together the Alumni Association and the parents' guilds and "increase awareness of their graduates, and their standing in the community."

            The inquirer is aware of the proscription of section 100.4(C)(b)(ii) of the Rules Governing Judicial conduct, which bars a judge from being a guest of honor at an educational or religious organization's fund-raising event. However, as described, the event is not intended to be a fund-raiser. The fact that the possibility exists that ultimately there may be some small differential between the cost of a ticket and the expenses actually incurred does not, by itself, transform the event into a fund-raiser. At this point no such differential is expected. Accordingly, the Committee is of the opinion that the judge may be a guest of honor at the dinner. See also Opinion 96-122 (Vol. XIV).