March 3, 1983
Opinion No. 83/4
Soliciting a donation from a fellow judge
This is in response to your inquiry of January 17, 1983. You want to know if a judge may ethically solicit a fellow judge for a charitable donation to a worthy cause.
Of the six members of the Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges who responded, four were of the opinion the prohibition against fund raising contained in Canon 5B(2) exists because of the fear a judge could be perceived to be coercing a contribution from the person solicited. With fellow judges, the ability to coerce does not exist. Since the reason for the rule does not apply to the solicitation of funds from fellow judges, those four members were of the opinion the Canon does not apply to that particular factual situation.
Two members found no distinction between a judge who solicits from fellow judges and one who solicits from non-judges. They stated the problem arises not because of the station in life occupied by the person solicited, but simply because a judge should not solicit funds. They held the prohibition against a judge using his position in office for fund raising still applies. They stated while there may not be coercion among fellow judges, there would certainly be pressure to contribute to a fellow judge's favorite charity.
James T. Carlisle
Chairman, Committee on Standards
of Conduct Governing Judges