Friday, July 6, 2012

Report of the Ethics Committee

Memorandum of Paw

To:       Silly Photo Contest Contestants and Spectators
From:     Silly Photo Contest Ethics Committee
Date:     July 6, 2012
Re:       Report of the Ethics Committee -
          Investigation of Gift to Chief Judge G. Riley

The Garth Riley’s FIRST EVER Silly Photo Contest Ethics Committee (“the Committee”) has recently completed an investigation into allegations of bribery resulting from a gift to Chief Judge Garth Riley from one of the contest participants.  The results of the investigation are as follows:


On Friday, July 29, 2012, Chief Judge Garth Riley (“Judge Garth”) received a package from Australia.  In accordance with the Silly Photo Contest Standards of Judicial Ethics, Judge Garth immediately reported this package to the Committee in order to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

The package in question was from a certain lovely and talented Australian Great Dane celebrity known as Honey the Great Dane (“Ms. Honey”).  After munching a bit on the shipping envelope, Judge Garth opened the package with the assistance of his staff.  The package contained a note from Ms. Honey and a gift of a package of kangaroo jerky sealed in plastic bag.  Judge Garth promptly proceeded to try to eat the note, but was prevented from doing so by his mother.  He then proceeded to enjoy a piece of the kangaroo jerky, which he reported to be “incredibly yummy”.

Ethics Investigation Report, Exhibit A

Ethics Investigation Report, Exhibit B

Judge Garth submitted the note and shipping envelope to the Committee for the purpose of the investigation but refused to turn over the package of kangaroo jerky.  The note contained no mention of the contest.  The shipping package indicated that it was posted in Australia in early June.

Findings and Conclusion

The Committee has thoroughly investigated this gift, and concludes that it was indeed a gift and not an attempt at bribery.  The Committee's reasoning is as follows:
(1)    The gift was posted before Garth Riley’s FIRST EVER Silly Photo Contest was announced.  At the time it was sent, the Contest had not been announced and Judge Garth had not been named as one of the judges.
(2)    The gift was clearly sent in the spirit of friendship and was not intended to influence Judge Garth’s decision in any way.
(3)    Because Judge Garth is so attractive and charismatic, it is not at all unusual for him to receive gifts from his lady friends.  [Editor’s Note: In fact, he encourages it!]  Such gifts are given as an expression of admiration and friendship with no expectation of quid pro quo by the giftee on the part of the giftor.
(4)    Judge Garth immediately reported the gift to the Committee, and has ensured the Committee that he can remain impartial although many of the contestants are indeed his friends.

In conclusion, the Committee finds that Ms. Honey is an extremely thoughtful and kind Great Dane for thinking of Judge Garth and sending him a delicacy unavailable in the United States.  [Editor’s Note: Thank you SO much, Honey!  That was very thoughtful of you and your mum!  The kangaroo jerky was a real treat for me and a nice surprise.  Kangaroos taste great!]


  1. Dear Garth,

    Please send Kangaroo Jerky to Cobi, care of Her People, By The Beach, Canada.

    (I have never had kangaroo jerky! It sounds very tasty...)


  2. We've never even heard of 'roo jerky! We bet it was yummy. Glad you were found innocent of any charges, Judge. We wouldn't want this to affect the contest in any way. Happy Caturday!

  3. Thank goodness Honey's name was cleared! Enjoy your kangaroo jerky, Garth!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  4. HOL Garth. Lucky you I am sooo hungry now! Have a lovely Saturday.
    Best wishes Molly

  5. This is unbelievable and shocking! Of course it was a bribe! That Miss Honey is so competitive. Seriously? FIX! FIX!


  6. We concur with the decision

  7. Wow, I'm glad to hear this wasn't a bribery attempt! We need these contests to remain above reproach.

  8. Ms. Honey sounds like a briber
    Benny & Lily

  9. With the greatest respect, the Committee may not have exhausted the appropriate lines of inquiry in this matter. The facts adduced by the Committee establish that apparently Ms. Honey and Judge Garth had a pre-existing relationship (degree not specified). Therefore, one wonders whether perhaps Ms. Honey had advance notice of the contest through a slip, inadvertent or otherwise, from yet-to-be-named Judge Garth (who may be presumed to have been aware of the upcoming contest and the role he would play). Therefore, the mere fact that the package in question was mailed before the FORMAL announcement of the contest may not be dispositive of the ethical questions in this matter.

    This suggestion is made in the interest of healthy canine competition and is not in any way meant to reflect on the ethics of Judge Garth. Quite the contrary: it is precisely because of the esteem in which we hold Judge Garth that we feel it is above all in his interest that this matter be exhaustively investigated.

    Yours in Paw,
    LankaContrarian, Esq.

    1. Thank you for your concern. Upon your suggestion, the Ethics Committee reopened this investigation. It appears that Ms. Honey and Judge Garth became acquainted in February 2012, when they tied for 3rd place in the Adventure Animal category of Mango Minster 2012, and Judge Garth sent Ms. Honey a congratulatory message on facebook. They developed a mutual admiration and began to follow and comment on each others blogs. They became friends, however their relationship remained platonic. (Ms. Honey is an accomplished dancer and super-model in her native Australia, and -- to put it quite candidly -- is completely out of Judge Garth's league.)

      The Committee obtained and has carefully scrutinized all correspondence between Judge Garth and Ms. Honey since February 2012, including blog comments, facebook messages, emails, and paw-written correspondence. Apparently the gift in question was prompted by a comment made by Judge Garth on Ms. Honey's blog. On March 28, 2012, Ms. Honey posted a blog entry which included a photograph of her eating a "Roo tail". Judge Garth posted a comment which included the statement, "...I have to ask -- is a 'Roo tail' really what I think it is?" Ms. Honey responded that yes, it was indeed a roasted kangaroo tail and that it was quite yummy. Shortly thereafter, Ms. Honey emailed Judge Garth to ask for his address, because she wanted to send him a "Roo tail" as a treat. The two engaged in an email discussion about whether sending a kangaroo tail to the United States violates any customs regulations, and Judge Garth agreed to research the matter. (While U.S. Customs allows all kinds of crazy things to be sent into the country from abroad, for example, handkerchiefs, pencils, pens, erasers, they may indeed draw the line at animal parts.)

      Soon after this email exchange, Judge Garth became distracted by a tennis ball and promptly forgot the matter. There is no record of correspondence between Judge Garth and Ms. Honey since that time, other than an occasional comment on each other's blogs or facebook page. These comments have all been carefully scrutinized by the Committee, and the Committee found no reference whatsoever to the contest in question.

      Sometime during May, Judge Garth conceived of Garth Riley's FIRST EVER Silly Photo Contest as a way to increase readership of his blog and provide an additional challenge to his staff. He first formally announced the contest in his June 16 blog post. Prior to that time, he had discussed the contest only with his staff and his graphic artist. Because of the limited communication between Judge Garth and Ms. Honey during that time, the Committee finds that there was no opportunity for Ms. Honey to have received any type of advance notice of the contest.

      In the course of its investigation, the Committee interviewed colleagues of both Judge Garth and Ms. Honey to inquire about their reputations in the community. While Judge Garth has been known to fraternize with such questionable characters as Southernmost Moose (known for winning first place in the Bad Sports category in Mango Minister 2011), Ms. Honey is known by all to be a very good dog.

      Following this exhaustive investigation, the Committee finds, once again, that the gift of the kangaroo jerky by Ms. Honey was indeed a kind and thoughtful gift and not an attempt to influence Judge Garth in any way.

      Silly Photo Contest Ethics Committee

  10. Dude, it's your contest! How can you possibly be in violation of ANY rules, since you wrote 'em? Heehee! Very nice pressie from Honey! And she's too dignified to be truly silly, anyway! ;-)

    *kissey face*
    -Fiona and Abby the Hippobottomus

    1. An EXCELLENT point! Tomorrow morning I plan to disband the Ethics Committee!!!