Opinion No. 147 (1992)

QUESTION: Should a judge participate in a plan to advise jurors that they may make a voluntary donation of their jury pay to a "Children's Protective Services Fund?"

ANSWER: No. Canon 5B(2) provides that a judge shall not solicit funds for any educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, political, or civic organization. Canon 4c provides that a Judge should not personally participate in public fund raising activities for an organization devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice. Opinions 10, 58, 131, and 137 (Question 4) construe this Canon 4C provision.

There is another consideration if the court on which the judge serves has jurisdiction in cases involving the protection of children. Canon 2A provides that a judge should promote public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary. The Committee concludes that a judge's participation in raising money for the protection of children would create the appearance of partiality in cases involving accusations of abuse of, or failure to protect, children. (Compare Opinion 126.)

The Committee concludes that a judge should not participate in advising jurors that they may donate their jury pay to any cause.