The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that they will not allow 44-year-old municipal judge Vincenzo A. Sicari to keep his judicial post if he continues his part-time job as a stand-up comedian. The unanimous ruling came from the state’s highest judicial office today, citing a conflict of interest between his judicial position and his comedic work.
Sicari performs regularly at Carolines on Broadway in Times Square under the stage name Vince August. His comedy career has lasted over 11 years, while he has held his judgeship since January 2008. After the decision was handed down, Sicari resigned from his post. His salary as a judge was $13,000 per year.
“It is what it is. I respect the Supreme Court’s decision but I was honest and open from day one,” Sicari told Bloomberg.
Sicari claims that he never mentioned his job as a judge, lawyers or the law in his stand-up routine. It was Sicari’s appearance on the reality show “What Would You Do?” that pushed the Supreme Court over the edge in their decision.
The court relayed the following information in regards to the ruling: “The focus of [Sicari’s] comedy and his decision to participate in a pseudo-reality television show in situations that demean, ridicule, or embarrass others based on their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, or physical characteristic are simply not consistent with the high standards of conduct expected of a judge.”
The court feared that participants in judicial affairs familiar with Sicari’s comedy might be unable to dissociate the performer Vince August from the judge Vincenzo A. Sicari. This could lead to unnecessary bias in the courtroom, the Supreme Court argued.
Sicari remained cool-headed regarding the court’s decision and his own decision to give up his judicial post in order to continue practicing comedy. “I never left comedy and I never left the law. The only thing that’s going to change tomorrow is that I’m no longer a judge,” Sicari informed Bloomberg.