April 29, 1999
A judge should not serve on the Board of Directors of a non-profit Therapeutic
Riding Center, which is an organization to which the judge has sentenced
defendants for community service as an alternative to incarceration.
22 NYCRR 100.2; 100.2(A); 100.2(B); 100.4(C)(3).
A judge inquires whether the judge may serve on the Board of Directors of a non-profit Therapeutic Riding Center. The judge occasionally sentences defendants to the Riding Center for community service, as an alternative to incarceration. The judge will not be involved in any fund-raising activities.
Section 100.4(C)(3) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct provides in
A judge may be a member or serve as an officer, director, trustee or non-legal advisor . . . of an educational, religious, charitable, cultural, fraternal or civic organization not conducted for profit.
This Committee has previously advised that such service is to be encouraged. However, section 100.2 of the Rules states that "a judge shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of the judge's activities." Further, "a judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary." 22 NYCRR 100.2(A). Therefore, to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, the judge should not serve on the Board of Directors of this particular organization. To sentence defendants to provide community service through this particular organization, while a member of its Board of Directors, could, in our view, be perceived as allowing that relationship "to influence the judge's judicial conduct or judgment." 22 NYCRR 100.2(B).