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New Jersey high court to rule on judge's comedian gig

February 26, 2013 2:45:34 PM PST
Leaving the Supreme Court in Trenton as Judge Vince Sicari, this smiling 43 year old was headed to Manhattan as Vince August, the comedian.

"I'm going to warm up the crowd," he said.

Sicari is a sitting a municipal court judge in South Hackensack two days a month, but at least five days a week, he's doing standup comedy and reality TV.

But the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Extrajudicial Activities doesn't think he's funny. For the last five years, Sicari has been fighting two rulings that state he can't do both. Tuesday afternoon, New Jersey's highest court heard an appeal from Sicari's attorney.

Sicari's attorney argued his client can switch hats very easily, and that he only gets 13k from sitting on the bench so he needs to keep the jokes coming.

Sicari says he's made hundreds of stand-up comedy appearances a year, including at a New York City comedy club where he has performed since 1997, on network television, as a warm-up for Comedy Central audiences and in film. He's a member of the Screen Actors Guild and other professional performers unions.

The committee cites rules that judges may hold outside positions including gigs as musicians, as long as they don't get paid, or play at casinos, political events or in scenarios that could present a conflict of interest. They also cite a prior ruling that determined "a municipal court judge may not appear in a TV commercial for Shredded Wheat."

Sicari argues in his appeal that he takes both his entertainment and his legal job seriously.

"This issue is about a person who affects lives in many ways in two distinct identities," he said in a court filing.

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