May 19, 2020
This responds to your inquiry (20-57) asking whether you may play the role of a judge in a theatrical performance to raise funds for your house of worship.
A judge must not “personally participate in the solicitation of funds or other fund-raising activities” (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C][b][i]). Thus, we have previously advised that a judge may not take an acting part in a play that is a fund-raising event. Publication of the judge’s participation “may subtly suggest a solicitation by the judge” (Opinion 92-79). In addition to the prohibition against solicitation of funds, the judge’s participation may create an appearance of impropriety (see 22 NYCRR 100.2).
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 98-155 and 92-79 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice (Ret.)
Appellate Div., First Dep’t
Margaret T. Walsh
Supreme Court Justice