Opinions of the Judicial Ethics
Advisory Committee



2005


 

 Opinion
 Canon(s)
 Subject
 2005-01
1, 2A, 3, 3E

Where the attorney spouse of a judge of compensation claims represents the Bureau of State Liability Claims in non-workers' compensation matters, and where the Bureau of State Liability Claims and the Bureau of State Employees' Workers' Compensation Claims are both bureaus within the Division of Risk Management of the State of Florida, is the judge of compensation claims necessarily disqualified under Canon 3E(1)(c), Code of Judicial Conduct, from presiding over workers' compensation claims where the carrier is the Division of Risk Management?

Under the facts outlined in the preceding question, would the judge of compensation claims be disqualified by Canon 3E(1)(c) from presiding over workers' compensation claims against a named employer subdivision of the State where that employer subdivision was represented, through the Bureau of State Liability Claims, by the judge's spouse in other, non-workers' compensation cases?

May the parties waive the disqualification in cases described in question 2?

Would the answer to question 2 be different if an outside adjusting company hired by the Bureau of State Liability Claims, rather than the Bureau itself, retained the spouse as counsel for the employer?

 2005-02
2, 4, and 5

May a judge be a guest speaker at a dinner honoring law enforcement and other public safety officers when the event is not a fundraiser?

 2005-03
5(E)(1)

May a judge serve as a guardian of the person for a child who is not a member of the judge’s family?

 2005-04
2B

May a circuit judge provide a letter to the Department of Elderly Affairs pursuant to §744.1085(8)(b), Florida Statutes, indicating that a guardian has demonstrated competency as a professional guardian, so that the guardian may seek waiver of the examination requirement demonstrating competency to act as a professional guardian?

 2005-05
3E(1)

Is a judge required to disclose a prior attorney-client relationship with a litigant that appears before the judge four years after the judge assumes the bench?

 2005-06
3E(1)(d)(iii)
3E(2)

Must a judge disclose a spouse’s business relationship with an attorney when handling cases involving that attorney’s firm?

If the judge discloses the spouse’s business relationship with the attorney, is recusal automatically required?

 2005-07
Recedes from JEAC Opinion 2000-17
2(B), 5(A), 5(A)(2)&(3) and 5(C), 5(C)(3)(b)(I) & (iii), and Commentary to 5(A)

Whether a judge can participate in fund-raising activities at the judge’s child’s school sporting events?

Whether the same rules that govern fund-raising for a child’s school sporting events apply to a judge’s fund-raising with a civic organization?

 2005-08
5(G) & 5(E)(1)

After assuming the bench, should a judge close a trust (iota) account that existed from the judge’s practice, even though it is simply being used for the distribution of funds when received?

 2005-09
2B; 2C; 5A; 5C(3); 5C(3)(b); 7A and 7D

Whether the inquiring judge can ethically engage in proposed extra-judicial conduct relating to 1) serving as a member of the board of a local community children’s alliance, and 2) serving as a celebrity waiter or server at an annual breakfast for the local children’s alliance, and 3) serving on a committee concerning family violence and its reduction, and 4) serving on the board and as a presenter at a symposium of a child advocacy center, and 5) writing letters of support for different organizations, and 6) serving on committees or organizations, when they are chaired by elected officials such as the sheriff, possibly in their election year.

 2005-10
2, Commentary to 2B

May a senior judge, who periodically sits in the juvenile division and hears contested termination of parental rights cases, testify as an expert witness in a matter regarding a receiver’s fees?

 2005-11
2A, 4B, 6

Whether a county court judge may teach at the local community college in the police academy.

 2005-12
4D(2)(a), 5 and 5B(2)

Whether a judge may produce and narrate a video in which the judge requests “help,” “support,” and that viewers “assist” in a project to restore a courtroom, where the video is for use by members of the bar seeking general--including financial--support for the project, if the video does not depict the judge’s image, but does identify the judge as the narrator in the credits.

 2005-13
4B

May a judge attend legal seminars sponsored by either a Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association or an equivalent prosecution group?

 2005-14
2(B), 4(D)(2)(a)

I. May a judge forward to a charity donations sent in response to a solicitation letter written by the judge prior to seeking appointment to the bench?

II. May the judge, after assuming the bench, run in a marathon race sponsored by this same charity and intended to raise money for the charity?

 2005-15
2, 3, 3E(1) and Commentary, and 3F

Whether a sitting circuit judge who has hired a lawyer to represent him in a civil action against the county, where the judge is the only judge assigned to the probate and guardianship division, needs to file a notice of disqualification in all cases handled by the law firm.

 2005-16
3(D)(2), Commentary to Canon 3E(1)

I. Must a judge disclose to parties in a pending case, through their respective counsel, that the judge has reported an attorney in the case to the florida bar as a result of alleged misconduct by the attorney in the case?

II. Is a judge required to disclose to the parties, through counsel, in subsequent cases in which the attorney appears, that the judge reported the attorney to the florida bar?  If so, for how long?

III. Is a judge required or permitted to report to the appropriate authorities the actions of a notary public, involved in a pending case before the judge, concerning alleged misconduct by the notary public by notarizing a signature on a document in the case?

IV. Is a judge required or permitted to disclose to the parties, through counsel in a pending case, that the judge has reported the notary to the appropriate authorities regarding the alleged misconduct of the notary in the case pending before the judge?

V. Is the judge required to disclose to parties, through counsel in subsequent cases which involve the attorney or the attorney’s law firm, that the judge has reported a notary who works for the law firm to the appropriate authorities for misconduct? If so, for how long?

VI. Is the judge required or permitted to report a party who may have committed a criminal offense to the state attorney?

VII. If the judge is required or permitted to report a party who may have committed perjury to the state attorney, is the judge required to disclose to the parties in the case, through counsel, of the judge’s actions?

VIII. Is the judge required or permitted to disclose to the parties, through counsel in subsequent cases including the same attorney or his law firm, that the judge reported a client represented by the law firm to the state attorney’s office for alleged criminal activity? If so, for how long?

 2005-17
3(C)(2); 3(E)(1); 3(E)(1)(d)(ii)

Whether the inquiring appellate judge, who has direct supervisory authority over central staff attorneys, should direct a central staff attorney to disqualify himself/herself from working on cases involving the entire legal department of a governmental agency that employs the central staff attorney’s spouse as an attorney.

 2005-18
5G

1. May a retired judge, not subject to recall, be self represented in an appeal to a district court of appeal or in a motion hearing in the trial court?

2. May a retired judge, not subject to recall, give legal advice to the judge’s spouse regarding the spouse’s appeal or for a motion hearing pending in the trial court?

3. May a retired judge, not subject to recall, represent the judge’s spouse in the spouse’s appeal or in a motion hearing pending in the trial court?

 2005-19
5A, 5E, and 5G

May a judge discuss former clients’ pending cases with the judge’s former law partner, who accepted many of these cases as the judge’s law practice was closed before taking office?

May a judge discuss a former client’s case with the client’s new lawyer who is not a former partner of the judge?