Opinion 17-154

November 13, 2017


Dear :

         This responds to your inquiry (17-154) asking if it is ethically permissible for you, as a part-time justice, to be president of a local, private not-for-profit cemetery in your town.

         It is ethically permissible for a judge to be president of “an organization... dedicated to preserv[ing].... ethnic, cultural or other values of legitimate common interest to its members” (22 NYCRR 100.2[D]). Indeed, the Committee has previously advised that a part-time judge may serve on boards of not-for-profit entities if it is unlikely they will engage in cases “that ordinarily would come before the judge” (22 NYCRR 100.4[C][3][a][i]). Also, the extra-judicial activities may not cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially; detract from the dignity of judicial office; or interfere with the judge’s judicial responsibilities (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[A][1] - [3]).

         While a judge may not personally solicit funds or participate in other fund-raising activities, a judge may assist with planning fund-raising only if he/she does not permit the use of the prestige of judicial office for fund-raising, nor permit his/her name to appear as the author or spokesperson on any fund-raising solicitations (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C][3][b][I], [iv]).

         Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 16-148 and 01-63 which address this issue. 


                                                 Very truly yours,


                                                 George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice

                                                 Appellate Div., First Dep’t (Ret.)

                                                 Committee Co-Chair

                                                 Hon. Margaret T. Walsh

                                                 Family Court Judge

                                                 Acting Justice, Supreme Court

                                                 Committee Co-Chair