Post # 1
We are getting married by a judge for the county my parents live in. When we asked about a fee, he said that he isn’t allowed to charge a fee for performing weddings (and that he wouldn’t charge us even if he could – great guy!).
We really want to give a thank-you gift – he is a friend of both families and has been so amazing during the planning. We were planning to gift him and his wife a gift certificate to a nice restaurant. Since this is still a type of money, will this cause any problems or put him in an awkward position? Or is it okay since it’s a gift, not a payment?
Post # 3
I believe each jurisdiction has their own set of ethical rules for judges. If he can’t charge a fee, he probably can’t take anything of actual monetary value. You should call the clerk’s office in his court and ask tho. I also think it’d be okay if you gave him something to show that you appreciated what he was doing, but that was worth very little. Maybe you could just invite the judge and his wife to a home cooked dinner.
Post # 4
You can officially address the gift to his wife.
Post # 5
While theoretically you could address the gift to the wife to get around any jurisdictional restrictions against public employees recieving gifts, this places the judge in potentially murky ethical waters— while technically that is not misconduct, it could potentially give an observer the impression of inappropriate behavior. In other words, it might not be doing anything wrong if you address the gift to the wife, but some outside observer might see that and assume something underhanded is going on. In many jurisdictions, the standard of behavior for public officials extends not just to “don’t do anything wrong’ but also “don’t do anything that LOOKS like it’s wrong.”
So don’t address the gift to the wife.
I’d either invite them over for a very nice home-cooked dinner, or make them some nice homemade treats like home-canned pickles, homemade toffee, etc.
Post # 6
@fishbone: That’s what I was worried about – unfortunately, we live 6 hours away from where we are getting married, so inviting them for dinner isn’t feasible…
Does it matter at all that I don’t live in his jurisdiction, so even if I commit a crime, he wouldn’t be my judge?