Opinion: 99-45

March 11, 1999

Digest: A judge should not participate in a private school's Annual Spring Auction by permitting the winner of the event to sit with the judge at a session of Night Court, and being the guest of the judge at dinner.

Rule:  22 NYCRR 100.2(C); 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i).


            The inquiring judge asks whether it is permissible to participate in a private school's Annual Spring Auction. The judge states that he/she has "offered to be a host for a session of Night Court. The winner would sit with me on the bench and be my guest at dinner . . . ."

            The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct prohibit a judge from lending the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of others and from personally participating in fund-raising activities on behalf of an educational organization. 22 NYCRR 100.2(C); 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i).

            The proposed activity clearly falls within these proscriptions. Accordingly, the judge should not participate in the manner requested. Further, it is improper to use the court itself for such purposes.