September 19, 1988
NOTE: MODIFIED BY RULE 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i)
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct were amended in 1996. Rule 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i) now provides as follows:
(b) A judge as an officer, director, trustee or non-legal advisor, or a member or otherwise:
(i) may assist such an organization [an organization devoted to the law, the legal system or the administration of justice or an educational, religious, charitable, cultural, fraternal or civic organization not conducted for profit] in planning fund-raising and may participate in the management and investment of the organization's funds, but shall not personally participate in the solicitation of funds or other fund-raising activities.
Topic: Propriety of judge serving as president of a service organization
Digest: A judge may serve as president of a service organization provided that he does not personally engage in solicitation of funds nor permit his name to be used on the organization’s letterhead, or in conjunction with any solicitation of funds.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.5(b).
A judge asks whether he may serve as president of a private civic service organization which, as one of its functions, raises money for local charities. The judge indicates that his name would not appear on the club’s letterhead and that he would not lend his name to any fundraising activity nor preside at any fundraising affair.
A judge’s involvement in civic or charitable activities is covered by section 100.5(b) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator of the Courts, as follows:
A judge may participate in civic and charitable activities that do not reflect adversely upon impartiality or interfere with the performance of judicial duties. A judge may serve as an officer, director, trustee or nonlegal advisor of an educational, religious, charitable, fraternal or civic organization not conducted for the economic or political advantage of its members, subject to the following limitations:
(1) A judge shall not serve if it is likely that the organization will be engaged in proceedings that would ordinarily come before him or her or will be regularly engaged in adversary proceedings in any court.
(2) No judge shall solicit funds for any educational, religious, charitable, fraternal or civic organization, or use or permit the use of the prestige of the office for that purpose, but may be listed as an officer, director or trustee of such an organization; provided, however, that no such listing shall be used in connection with any solicitation of funds. No judge shall be a speaker or the guest of honor at an organization’s fund raising events, but he or she may attend such events. Nothing in this Part shall be deemed to prohibit a judge form being a speaker or guest of honor at a bar association or law school function.
(3) A judge shall not give investment advice to such an organization, but he or she may serve on its board of directors or trustees even though it has the responsibility for approving investment decisions.
A judge may serve as president of a civic or charitable organization provided that such participation does not interfere with his or her judicial duties and that it is not likely that the organization will be involved in litigation. While the judge may serve as an officer of an organization, he or she may not engage in any fundraising activities and may not permit his name to be listed on the group’s letterhead or used for fundraising, nor may the judge be a speaker or guest of honor at the organization’s fundraising events. The judge is also proscribed from giving investment advice to the group.
This opinion is advisory only and does not bind either the Office of Court Administration or the Commission on Judicial Conduct.