Opinions of the Judicial Ethics
Advisory Committee



2008


 

 Opinion
 Canon(s)
 Subject
2008-01
4D and 5C(2)

(1)  Whether the Inquiring Judge may serve on a mortgage fraud task force established by a city’s mayor.

(2)  Whether a Judge presiding in an adversarial probate case may recommend a mediator when asked for suggestions where both sides are present in open court.

3) Whether a Judge may continue to serve on a university’s regional planning council whose previous efforts were designed to raise the profile of the university in the community and which is now trying to raise substantial funds.

2008-02
(Elections)
3E(1)

(1)  When a sitting judge campaigning for election is being supported by the local state attorney, sheriff, and defense lawyers, is a mass mailing to members of the local bar listing the members of the judge’s campaign committee a sufficient dicslosure pursuant to canon 3?

(2)  Is it proper for the judge to announce these relationships on the record in open court?

(3) Must the judge also post a roster of campaign committee members in the local courthouse?

2008-03
3E(1); 3C(4); 3F

(1)  Whether recusal is required in cases where a Judge’s former fiancé serves as a forensic CPA expert.

(2)  Whether a Judge should disclose that a former fiancé’s CPA firm leases office space from a partnership in which the Judge is a general partner.

2008-04
3B(1), 3E

When a judge has entered an order of recusal because of a “tumultuous” relationship between the judge and an assistant state attorney, whether the judge should remain on cases involving other assistant state attorneys from the same office?

2008-05
5E(1)

Whether a judge may serve as a trustee or executor for a long-term friend where the friend is an out-of-state resident, the situs of the estate and trust will be out-of-state, and it is highly unlikely that any legal proceedings would occur in Florida.

2008-06
2, 2B, 3C(4), 3E(1)(d), and 3F, and Commentary to 3C(4), E(1)(d), and 3F

(1) Whether the Inquiring Judge’s adult child who is a lawyer would be prohibited from accepting employment with a firm representing clients in matters before the Judge’s division. 

(2) Whether disclosure on the record at the earliest possible time of the Judge’s adult child’s employment as a lawyer with the firm, coupled with a representation that the Judge’s child does not and will not have any role in the case, and will be “walled off” from the case internally within the firm, is sufficient to avoid disqualification.

(3) Whether the Inquiring Judge may appoint a special master or receiver from a firm where the Judge’s adult child is employed as an associate attorney.

2008-07
2B, 5, 5D(1)(a), 7, 7A(1)(e)

Whether the Inquiring Judge may contribute financially to defray the campaign costs of a candidate for a seat on a Florida university’s student government.

2008-08
7A(2)

Whether the Code of Judicial Conduct requires a civil traffic infraction hearing officer to resign in order to run for a position as a county court judge.

2008-09
(Elections)
7A(3), 7C(1), 7E

May a judge’s parents generate a letter soliciting campaign contributions for the judge’s re-election?

2008-10
(Elections)
7A

(1)  May a judicial candidate, who has retired from the circuit bench, use the title “Judge” in campaign literature, media releases, printed ads, or other media venues?

(2)  May a judicial candidate, who has retired from the circuit bench, use the term “former judge” or “retired judge” in campaign literature, media releases, printed ads, or other media venues?

(3) May a judicial candidate, who has retired from the circuit bench, utilize a robe in campaign literature, media releases, printed ads, or other media venues?

(4) May the candidate’s campaign reproduce news articles (with the permission of the media source) that include editorials addressing the candidate as “Judge” or “Honorable” and that include photographs of the candidate prior to retirement, in a robe, and seated on the bench?

2008-11
(Elections)
3B(12), 7A(1)(b), 7C(1)

(1)  May a judge seeking re-election employ signs and other campaign materials depicting the judge wearing a robe? 

(2) May a judge’s campaign web site make reference to, and facilitate, the giving of financial and other support to the judge’s re-election effort? 

(3) May the judge’s campaign materials include pictures of the judge with jurors and/or complimentary letters from jurors?

(4)  May a judge’s campaign materials include pictures of the judge with colleagues and/or other officials, elected and non-elected, and if so should those materials include a disclaimer that the persons depicted have not necessarily endorsed or decided to support the judge?

2008-12
(Elections)
1, 2A, 3, 7A(1)(b)

May a candidate for election to judicial office receive and publish an endorsement for the election from a senior assistant county attorney who is additionally employed by a municipality as an independent contractor to serve as a code enforcement special master under the authority of section 162.03, Florida Statutes (2007)?

2008-13
(Elections)

May a judicial candidate, who has retired from the circuit bench and enjoys senior status, use the title "Judge" in campaign literature, media releases, printed ads, or other media venues?

2008-14
(Elections)
3B(5), 3B(7), 3C(4), 7A(3)(d)(i)

May a candidate, in the candidate's discretion, sign a Cuban American Bar Association 2008 Judicial Election Campaign Pledge?

2008-15
(Elections)
7A(3)(d)(ii)

May a candidate for election to judicial office use the title “Administrative Law Judge” when describing the candidate’s years of service with the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings, even though during a portion of the candidate’s service with the division the title “Hearing Officers” was used for its administrative adjudicative officials?

2008-16
(Elections)
7

(1)  May a candidate for election to judicial office hire a partisan political candidate running for a different office to be the judicial candidate's campaign manager/ consultant?

(2)  May a candidate for election to judicial office hire an executive officer of a partisan political committee to be the judicial candidate's campaign manager/ consultant?

2008-17
4, 4A(1)-(6), 4D(2), 4D(2)(b), and Commentary to Canon 4D(2)

May a judge be a speaker at a fundraiser dinner for drug court?

2008-18
3E, 3E(1), 3E(d)(ii)

(1)     Whether a judge/spouse of the elected Public Defender is disqualified from presiding over criminal cases involving the public defender’s office after the spouse’s retirement.

(2)     Whether a judge/spouse of the elected Public Defender is disqualified from public defender cases after the spouse’s retirement where the judge’s spouse may have been privy to privileged communications.

(3)     Whether a judge/spouse of the elected Public Defender is disqualified from public defender cases after the spouse’s retirement where the spouse may be called to testify in post-conviction  hearings.

2008-19
2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 5D(5) & 5D(5)(c),(d), (e) & (h)

May a judge accept an invitation to hunt with a former litigant’s husband on land that the former litigant’s family controls?

2008-20
5C(3), 5C(3)(a) & Commentary to Canon 5A & Canon 5C(3)(a)

Whether a judge may serve on an executive committee for a non-profit, charitable organization if the judge is not directly involved in fund-raising activities.

2008-21
4A(1); Canon 4B; Canon 4D(2)(c)

(1) May a judge teach an educational/trial skills course at a Dependency Court Improvement Summit sponsored by the Department of Children and Families (DCF)?

(2)  May a judge participate in planning this course, without actually teaching it, by recommending areas of need and recruiting other practitioners to participate.

2008-22
4D(2)(b) and 5C(3)(b)

Whether the inquiring Judge may appear as a “dignitary guest” in a fund-raising ballet production, sponsored by a ballet company which is organized as a charitable organization, and allow the production to use the judge’s name and title to advertise the event.

2008-23

4D(2)(b), 5(A), and 5(c)(3)(b)(iii)

Whether the inquiring judge may purchase an advertisement that congratulates the recipient of an award in program materials to be distributed at a fundraising luncheon for the Anti-Defamation League, where the advertisement would include the inquiring judge’s name.

2008-24

2A, 2B, and 4B

Whether the inquiring judge may permit an elder justice program, established by the court, to provide to the public a list of attorneys who have indicated their availability to represent laypersons who serve as guardians in guardianship proceedings.

2008-25

5d(2) and 5D(3)

(1) May a judge serve as an officer or director of a closely held family corporation?

(2) May a judge receive compensation for the corporation based upon a percentage of the value of property to be sold?