September 4, 2003
Digest: A judge may serve as a member of the board of directors of a not-for-profit nursing home provided the judge does not personally participate in fund-raising activities and the judge's board responsibilities do not interfere with the judge's judicial duties.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3); 100.4(3)(b)(i);(ii);(iii);(iv) Opinions 00-18; 01-28;
98-93 (Vol. XVII); 98-32 (Vol. XVI); 95-102 (Vol. XIII); 91-116 (Vol. VIII);
92-36 (Vol. IX); 88-162 (Vol. III).
A full-time judge asks whether it is permissible to serve as a member of the board of directors of a not-for-profit residential nursing home.
Section 100.4(C)(3) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct permits a judge to serve as an officer, director, trustee or non-legal advisor of a non-profit organization. In such capacity, however, a judge is prohibited from personally participating in membership solicitation, the solicitation of funds or in other fund-raising activities. 22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i),(ii),(iii) and (iv).
This Committee has previously expressed the view that a judge may serve as Treasurer of a religious-based infirmary and home for the aged so long as the judge does not participate in fund-raising for the organization and the responsibilities of the office do not interfere with the judge's judicial duties. Opinion 01-28. See also Opinions 98-93 (Vol. XVII); 98-32 (Vol. XVI); 95-102 (Vol. XIII); 92-36 (Vol. IX); 91-116 (Vol. VIII); 88-162 (Vol. III). Further, in Opinion 00-18 this Committee specifically cautioned a judge who was serving on the board of a nursing home to resign if the home or its parent hospital is one which is regularly engaged in adversary proceedings in the judge's court, thus resulting in an excessive number of disqualifications by the judge. Opinion 00-18.
Accordingly, it is ethically permissible for a judge to serve as a member of the board of a not-for-profit nursing home. However, the judge should carefully consider the responsibilities of a board member, particularly regarding membership solicitation, fund-raising and the frequency that the judge might be required to exercise recusal before agreeing to serve.