Judge Resigns When Told He Can’t Also Be a Comic

A NEW Jersey municipal judge who is also a stand up comedian resigned after that state’s Supreme Court said he couldn’t moonlight. The court reasoned that in the course of his stand up routines, Judge Vince A. Sicari demeaned people based on nationality and religion and that folks in his courtroom might not accept his rulings evenhandedly.

Sicari said he tendered his resignation after the court released a unanimous opinion that said his acting and comedy career was “incompatible” with judicial conduct codes and essentially gave him the choice of doing one or the other.

“I’m not surprised by the result, but I’m very disappointed,” said Mr. Sicari, a 44-year-old lawyer. “I take great pride in being a judge, and to give that up is disappointing.”

Mr. Sicari, whose stage name is Vince August, has carved out a career as a comic and actor, appearing on network television and in New York City comedy clubs, and warming up Comedy Central audiences. He was also a part-time municipal judge in South Hackensack, where he handled matters like traffic ticket cases and disorderly persons offenses.

Several justices questioned whether the public could separate Mr. Sicari’s position as a judge from roles he has played on the ABC hidden camera show “What Would You Do?” in which he has portrayed homophobic and racist characters. That quandary played a central role in the ruling on Thursday, as the justices noted that someone tuning into the show might not know that actors were used in the sketches. They applied the same standard for Mr. Sicari’s stand-up performances.


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