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Connecticut Committee on Judicial Ethics
Informal Opinion Summaries

2012-15 (June 1, 2012)
Event, attendance/appearance; Awards & Honors; Fundraiser
Rules 3.1 & 3.7
 
Issue: May a Judicial Official, who served as a member of a task force created to study issues concerning the administration of criminal justice, attend and be acknowledged at a fund-raising event hosted by a nonprofit law-related organization?

Additional Facts: A Judicial Official and his/her spouse have been invited to attend a fund-raising reception hosted by a nonprofit law-related organization. The purpose of the fund-raising event is to support a fund established to assist victims of the criminal justice system. At the reception, the nonprofit’s organizer plans to acknowledge the work of the Judicial Official’s task force, and express hope that the changes that follow from the task force’s recommendations will result in positive policy reforms. Due to the Judicial Official’s leadership position in the task force, the Judicial Official believes that the organizer plans to mention the Judicial Official by name. The Judicial Official and his/her spouse intend to pay the applicable fee to attend the event.

Response: Rule 3.1 of the Code provides that subject to certain conditions a judge “may engage in extrajudicial activities except as prohibited by law.” The rule’s commentary encourages judges to participate in appropriate extrajudicial activities and observes that “[j]udges are uniquely qualified to engage in extrajudicial activities that concern the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice.” Rule 3.1, cmt. (1). Similarly, Rule 3.7 (a) provides that a judge may participate in activities sponsored by organizations concerned with the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice… including, but not limited to, the following activities:… (4) appearing or speaking at, receiving an award or other recognition at, being featured on the program of, 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 organization is a nonprofit organization concerned with the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice and the event concerns the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice under Rule 3.7 (a)(4) (See Informal Opinion JE 2012-07), the Committee unanimously determined that the Judicial Official may attend and be honored at the fund-raising event.

Committee on Judicial Ethics

 


 

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