Opinion 02-33

April 18, 2002


Digest:         A judge may attend and receive an award at an awards dinnersponsored by a local not-for-profit organization that is a member of a drug court team in the drug court over which the judge presides.


Rules:          22 NYCRR; 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i),(ii); Opinions 88-66 (Vol. II); 90-184 (Vol. V); 91-42 (Vol. VII); 93-128 (Vol. XI); 94-147 (Vol. XIII); 99-15 (Vol. XVII).


         A local organization that is a member of a drug court team in the judge’s court wants to present an award during its annual dinner to the judge who presides in that court. The organization has assured the judge that dinner is not a fund-raising event. The judge asks whether it is ethically permissible to attend the dinner and accept the award.

         This Committee has previously advised that a judge may attend and may be honored at non-fund-raising events sponsored a variety of not-for-profit community organizations such as the Boy Scouts [Opinion 88-66 (Vol. II)], an ethnic police association [Opinion 90-184 (Vol. V)], a charitable organization [Opinion 91-42 (Vol. VII)], civic groups [Opinion 93-128 (Vol. XI)], a local community service agency that provides services to the judge’s court [Opinion 94-147(Vol. XIII) and a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting civilian participation in the New York military reserves and militia Opinion 99-15 (Vol. XVII).

         In the present inquiry, because the judge has been assured that the annual dinner does not involve fund-raising, it is the Committee’s view that the judge may attend the annual dinner and accept an award. Acceptance of an award, under these circumstances, does not violate sections 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i) and (ii) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct, which prohibit personal participation in fund-raising.