June 7, 1990
Digest: A judge may not participate in a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society in a mock “jail and bail” event.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 1OO.5(b)(2).
A judge inquires whether a judge may participate in a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, where a judge would act as a fictitious “judge” in a mock “jail and bail” event for soliciting donations.
Section 100.5(b)(2) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator specifically prohibits judges from soliciting “funds for any educational, religious, fraternal or civic organization” or from using or permitting “the use of the prestige of the office for that purpose...” In addition, the Committee on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge, in Matter of Turner, (March 23, 1987), for participating as a judge in a similar jail and bail fundraising effort. The Committee found the judge guilty of misconduct for lending the prestige of his office to a fundraising event and for “deviating from the high standards of conduct expected of every judge by mocking a court proceeding.” See also Matter of Joseph Harris, 1989 Annual Report of New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, pp.19-20, and Matter of Harris, 72 N.Y.2d 335 (1988). Accordingly, the judge should not participate in this fundraising activity.