A part-time New Jersey municipal judge who moonlights as a stand-up comedian and actor has resigned from his day job, after the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled he must pick between the two careers.
The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Thursday that that his comedic gigs don’t fit judicial conduct standards.
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“I’m not surprised by the result, but I’m very disappointed,” Sicari told the Associated Press.
“I take great pride in being a judge and to give that up is disappointing.”
Sicari works on-stage as Vince August and appears regularly on TV and in comedy clubs. One of those appearances in particular on ABC’s “What Would You Do?” made the justices review whether people would be able to separate Sicari’s acting career from his role on the bench.
In the episode in question, Sicari played a homophobic and racist man, making shocking remarks to strangers in public. Hidden cameras captured their reactions to his extreme behavior.
“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,” a statement on the court’s decision read.
Although Sicari made the case that he kept his two careers separate, the court opinion said it was possible that someone who attended one of his comedy shows could end up in front of his New Jersey bench.
Sicari makes $13,000 a year as a municipal judge, working part-time, and gets the bulk of his income from comedy and acting, the AP reported.
“I've been balancing these professions my entire career,” he told the news agency. “I have a passion for all of them. If I didn't have a passion, this wouldn't be a Supreme Court case.”
Sicari plans to continue working as a lawyer.
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