2013-13 (Emergency Staff Opinion issued March 26, 2013)
Event, attendance/appearance; Civic Activities;
May a Judicial Official speak at the 100th anniversary dinner of a local non-profit land conservation organization?
Of the 62 invitations (each invitation is for the invitee and a guest), only 7 are going to past donors. The remaining invitations are being sent to Board members, staff members and volunteers. The dinner is by invitation only and there is no charge to attend. The dinner is not connected with any fundraiser, nor is it a fund-raising event.
The organization was incorporated for education, conservation, research and recreation purposes.
Response: The inquiry was circulated to the Committee members. Input was solicited and received. Rule 3.7 (a)(4) of the Code of Judicial Conduct provides that a judge may participate in activities “sponsored by or on behalf of educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organizations not conducted for profit, including, but not limited to, the following activities:…(4) appearing or speaking at.. and permitting his or her title to be used in connection with an event of such an organization or entity, but if the event serves a fund-raising purpose, the judge may participate only if the event concerns the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice.”
Based upon the information provided, including that the dinner is not a fund-raising event, the Judicial Official was advised that he/she may attend and speak at the organization’s anniversary dinner under Rule 3.7(a)(4).