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N.J. judge can't moonlight as comedian

Sept. 19, 2013 at 12:35 PM   |   Comments

TRENTON, N.J., Sept. 19 (UPI) -- New Jersey's Supreme Court said Thursday a state municipal court judge cannot keep his career as a comedian and remain on the bench.

The South Hackensack municipal judge, Vincent August Sicari, "simultaneously developed his legal career and his entertainment career" in 1996, the state high court said.."By June 1997, he appeared regularly as a standup comedian at a noted comedy club in New York City.

"Sicari maintains that he has carefully separated his legal and comedic identities," the court said. "He practices law as Vince A. Sicari; he performs under the name Vince August. He claims very few people knew of his dual careers."

But Sicari's cover as a lawyer-comedian was blown by a story in the Bergen (N.J.) Record in June 2007. Nevertheless, he took his oath office as an appointed part-time municipal judge in January 2008.

Sicari's comedy used his Italian-American heritage and Catholic faith to create characters that might not be considered proper for a judge, critics said. In 2008, a legal advisory board said he had to give up his show business career.

Sicari appealed to the New Jersey Supreme Court, which heard argument in February

Thursday, the state high court said, "The judge's acting and comedy career is incompatible with the Code of Judicial Conduct and therefore he may not serve as a municipal court judge while continuing with that career."

As a lawyer, the court said, he was free to pursue his stage career, but the code kicked in when he became a judge.

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