June 7, 1990
Digest: A judge's spouse may paint a portrait of another judge to be hung in the courthouse, provided that the spouse receives no payment except for actual expenses.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.2, 100.2(c).
A judge, who is the Supervising Judge of a court, inquires whether the judge's spouse, who is an artist, may paint a portrait of another judge of the same court, which will be hung in the courthouse. The spouse will receive payment only for the actual expenses incurred in painting the portrait, such as the cost of the canvass and framing. Since other judges of the court may see the portrait, there is a possibility that such judges also may request the artist to paint their portraits.
Section 100.2 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator requires that “no judge shall lend the prestige of his or her office to advance the private interests of others.” As the Supervising Judge's spouse will receive no compensation for painting the other judge's portrait, there is no appearance that the Supervising Judge is using influence to financially benefit the Supervising Judge's spouse. Accordingly, the judge's spouse may paint the portrait and it may be hung in the courthouse.