Opinion 21-52

May 19, 2021

Dear :

         This responds to your inquiry (21-52) asking if you, a full-time judge and a poet by avocation, may share your poetry at free online creative arts panels, organized by non-commercial entities (a not-for-profit museum and a state university), and accept an honorarium from them. The same honorarium is offered to all participating poets and panelists. We understand these events are not fund-raisers.

         Section 100.4(H)(1) permits a full-time judge to receive compensation and reimbursement of expenses for permissible extra-judicial activities, provided it does not exceed a reasonable amount nor exceed what a person who is not a judge would receive for the same activity (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[H][1][a]; see also Opinions 16-15; 06-103; 97-56; 94-57).

         Accordingly, you may share your poetry and may accept the honorarium offered to all participating poets and panelists, subject to generally applicable limitations on judicial speech and conduct, including the prohibition on soliciting funds (see Opinion 16-15). You are reminded that 22 NYCRR 100.4(H)(2) also requires full-time judges to “report the date, place and nature of any [extra-judicial] activity for which the judge receive[s] compensation in excess of $150, and the name of the payor and the amount of compensation” (22 NYCRR 100.4[H][2]). The report “shall be made at least annually and shall be filed as a public document” to your court's chief clerk (id.).

         Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 16-15; 06-103; 97-56 and 94-57 which address this issue.

Very truly yours,

Margaret T. Walsh

                                                 Supreme Court Justice

                                                 Committee Co-Chair

                                                 Lillian Wan

                                                 Acting Supreme Court Justice

                                                 Committee Co-Chair