Friday, October 15, 2010

Where Judicial Dignity and Stand-Up Comedy Intersect

Judicial ethics panels tend to frown...


A judge walks into a bar and launches into a stand-up routine. The bartender asks, "Is this a joke?" The judge says, "Let me check with the Advisory Committee on Extrajudicial Activities."

That's not exactly how South Hackensack, N.J., Judge Vincenzo Sicari -- alias comic "Vince August" -- got into an ethics pickle. But he did make the inquiry, and the outcome wasn't so funny: The panel that regulates New Jersey municipal judges' moonlighting said he can't decide cases by day and do shtick by night.

Sicari, though his term on the bench ends Dec. 31, isn't taking the ultimatum lying down. He's asked the state Supreme Court for review, and the justices on Oct. 8 agreed to hear the case, In the Matter of Opinion No. 12-08 of the Supreme Court Committee on Extrajudicial Activities, A-23-10

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto
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