1995-23: Judge acting in a play for a civic organization's

 Opinion No. 95-23

December 20, 1995

TOPIC: Judge acting in a play for a civic organization's

fund raiser.

DIGEST: A judge may act in a play even though the sponsoring agency hopes to raise money from the play.

REFERENCES: Illinois Supreme Court Rules 65A, 65B and 65B(2) of the Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 5 (145 Ill.2d R.65).


A local not-for-profit civic organization plans to produce a play as a fundraiser for its project. They have asked the judge to take one of the parts. The judge has been assured that his or her name will not appear on any of the materials other than as a member of the cast. Any solicitation materials will be on separate sheets of paper. The judge humbly concedes that he or she will not be billed as the star of the play.


May a judge volunteer as an actor in a play for a civic organization's fundraiser?


Illinois Supreme Court Rule 65B(2) states that: "A judge should not solicit or permit his or her name to be used in any manner to solicit funds or other assistance for any such organization. A judge should not allow his or her name to appear on the letterhead of any such organization where the stationary is used to solicit funds... A judge should not be a speaker or the guest of honor at an organization's fund-raising events, but he or she may attend such events."

Since the facts assert that the judge's name will not be used on solicitation materials, this Rule is no bar to this action. Illinois Supreme Court Rule 65A specifically permits a judge to "engage in the arts". Finally, Rule 65B provides that a judge "may participate in civic and charitable activities that do not reflect adversely upon the judge's impartiality or interfere with the performance with the judge's judicial duties."