June 17, 2019

Contributing Mask for the Benefit of Denver Hospice is Equivalent to Fundraising

The Colorado Judicial Ethics Advisory Board issued Opinion 2013-04 on August 19, 2013.

The requesting judge was asked to contribute a handcrafted mask to The Mask Project, an annual fundraiser for Denver Hospice. Masks are created by artists, celebrities, sports figures, and community leaders, and an online auction identifies each mask’s creator. The judge’s mask would identify her as a judge, but she noted that she would not solicit contributions or bids. The judge wanted an opinion regarding whether contributing a mask to The Mask Project would violate Rule 3.7 of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

The Judicial Ethics Advisory Board opined that contributing the mask would indeed violate Rule 3.7, as it is the equivalent of fundraising or soliciting contributions for Denver Hospice. The Board noted that the clear language of Rule 3.7(A)(2) and (4) prohibits both active and passive fundraising for a non-law-related non-profit organization. Although the Board noted that the line between permissible and disallowed may not always be clear, it opined that there is no such uncertainty in this instance.

For more information about the Colorado Judicial Ethics Advisory Board, and for a complete list of its opinions, click here.

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