Opinion 143

A judge who has written a book, consisting of childhood experiences and stories heard from parents and older friends, has developed an interest in publication of the book but, before giving this serious consideration, he has asked the Commission for an Advisory Opinion as to whether it would be appropriate for the profits, if any, from the publication and sale of the book to go to the church where he had been a member for most of his life and where his father was a minister for some 30 years.

He proposes to accomplish this by one of two means. His first preference would be to negotiate a publication contract and to then assign the benefits, and all rights to the manuscript, to the church, so that he would be out of the transaction except that his name would appear on the book as author. A second method would be for him to make a written commitment to the church that such profits as might be realized would be contributed to the church upon receipt.

The Commission is of the opinion that the proposed donation of profits realized from the publication of such a book in either of the suggested manners would be unobjectionable, provided it is done in such as way as to avoid violating Rule 3.7(B)(2) which provides, in part, as follows:

(2) Judges shall not personally solicit funds for any educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organization, or use or permit the use of the prestige of their office for that purpose….

[Pertinent Code of Judicial Conduct provisions: Rules 2.4(B), 3.7(B)(2). Cross reference to other relevant opinions for review: #15, #17, #24, #37, #43, #89, #117, #133, #138, #139, #145, #146, #161, #164.]

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