Sciari, who performs comedy under the name Vince August, is appealling against a 2008 state ethics committee ruling that he can’t continue working as a paid entertainer while working part-time as a judge.
Sciari claims that he has performed hundreds of shows, including warming up audiences on Comedy Central specials and in film and has never allowed his Judicial responsibilities or identity impact on his as a performer.
Kim D Ringler of the state attorney general’s office is arguing that the ban should be upheld, because Sciari’s routine utilises characters who are both racist and/or homophobic could confuse the public and reflect badly on the judiciary.
‘His actions detract from the dignity of his judicial office and may reflect adversely on the judge’s impartiality,’ Ringler said of Sicari’s performances.
Sciari’s lawyer however has said that the public can distinguish between his stand-up comedy and his work as a judicial official.
‘It’s important to recognise that whether he be comedian or actor, he is in roles where he is not expressing … his opinion,’ E. Drew Britcher said.
Britcher also argued that Sciari never cracks jokes while sitting on the bench, nor does he ever let on that he moonlights as an actor and comedian.
Sciari is only payed about $15,000 a year for his work as a part time judge but says that he is equally passionate about both jobs, although his comedy work earns him a far greater income.
‘This issue is about a person who affects lives in many ways in two distinct identities,’ Sciari said in court documents.