September 21, 1995
Digest: A judge may be included as one of a group of persons whose portraits will be included in an education book regarding health.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.2
A judge inquires whether participation as one of about fifty persons in a book project which will result in the publication of their portraits and stories of surviving breast cancer is permissible. The book intends to show examples of courage, and will be sold commercially, although two members of the project intend to donate their royalties to a national charitable organization. There are no anticipated fundraisers by any organization to which the inquiring judge belongs.
Neither the Rules of the Chief Administrator nor the Canons of Judicial Conduct have a specific reference to the activity which is the subject of this inquiry. Where there is no specific allusion it is necessary to determine whether there will be any appearance of impropriety as a result of such activity. The Rules of the Chief Administrator indicate the following:
100.2 Avoiding Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety
(a) A judge shall respect and comply with the law and shall conduct himself or herself at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
(b) No judge shall allow his or her family, social, or other relationships to influence his judicial conduct or judgement.
(c) No judge shall lend the prestige of his or her office to advance the private interests of others nor shall any judge convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence him or her. No judge shall testify voluntarily as a character witness.
This Committee sees no impropriety nor any appearance of impropriety that would result from participation in a book project which will educate the public about breast cancer and which will in no way involve the judge in the solicitation of funds for any charitable organization.