Friday, September 20, 2013

Judge must give up bench or comedy shtick // New Jersey Supreme Court

Vincenzo Sicari as 'Vince August' at Caroline's
Municipal Court Judge Vincent Sicari as Vince August at Caroline's

Vincent Sicari, a part-time municipal court judge in South Hackensack, New Jersey, has resigned his post after the state Supreme Court compelled him to choose between his work as a low brow TV and stand-up comic and the bench.

Sicari lost the five year fight. the court rejected the argument that he had constructed two watertight compartments - one law, the other comedy. In a unanimous order the justices wrote: "The Court cannot ignore the distinct possibility that a person who has heard a routine founded on humor disparaging certain ethnic groups and religions will not be able to readily accept that the judge before whom he or she appears can maintain the objectivity and impartiality that must govern all municipal court proceedings."
“Once he chose to serve as a municipal court judge, his conduct outside the courtroom became subject to a higher standard,” they said. “He may not pursue any activity that has the capacity to demean his judicial office or causes anyone to question his impartiality.”

Judicicial Canon 2 bars any conduct “impair[ing] the dignity and esteem in which the court should be held.”

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