Opinions of the Judicial Ethics
Advisory Committee



2016


 

 Opinion
 Canon(s)
 Subject
2016-01
Commentary to Canon 5C(2)
May a judge serve on the board of directors of a non-profit organization which owns and operates a charter school, and works in the community to combat illiteracy?
2016-02
2B
Whether potential ethical violations are raised for a judge when a law firm publicly acknowledges, promotes, or markets the fact that an attorney with the law firm is the child of a specifically named judge.
2016-03
2(B), 3(B)(9)
May a judge appear in a documentary concerning a case that the judge prosecuted as an assistant state attorney and that has reached final disposition where the judge will not be identified as a current, sitting judge?
2016-04
2B, 3(E)(1), 3E(1)(d), 3(E)(1)(d)(ii); Commentary to Canons 3E(1)

1. Whether the inquiring judge must recuse himself or herself from all Engle Progeny cases assigned to the inquiring judge’s trial division where a member of the inquiring judge’s family brought an Engle Progeny suit against a tobacco company defendant within the same judicial circuit but before another trial judge?

2. If the inquiring judge does not have to recuse from all pending Engle Progeny cases, would it be mandatory for the inquiring judge to recuse from all cases involving the same lawyers, tobacco company, or litigants involved in the judge’s family member’s Engle Progeny case?

3. If recusal is not mandatory, is recusal nevertheless prudent?

4. Is disclosure required in all Engle Progeny cases assigned to the inquiring judge’s division?

5. For what period of time should the inquiring judge make a disclosure?

2016-05
(Election)
7A(1)(b), 7C(1)

May an incumbent judicial candidate up for election include a political office holder in the judge’s committee of interested persons who is also an incumbent up for election this cycle?

2016-06
(Election)
3B(9)

May an incumbent judicial candidate publicly comment about the events surrounding the termination of a court employee, including the employee’s arrest and conviction?

2016-07
(Election)

May a judicial candidate who is married to a judge utilize the judge’s photograph in campaign advertising?

2016-08
(Election)
5C(3)(b) and 7C(3)

May a judicial candidate attend a gathering sponsored by a group claiming no party affiliation but describing itself as “conservative,” where a fee is charged for attendance solely to defray the costs of the event and all candidates for the same office are not guaranteed an opportunity to attend and speak?

2016-09
(Election)
7A(2)(b)

May a judicial candidate accept and advertise an endorsement from a county commissioner who is not running for re-election during the same election cycle as the candidate, but who has already opened a campaign account for re-election to the same office in 2018?

2016-10
(Election)
7C(3)

May a Judicial candidate attend a candidate’s forum, sponsored by a political party, attendance to which is only available to those candidates who were not able to attend a previously held open forum, if the candidate’s opponent is not likewise invited to attend?

2016-11
5C(2), 5C(3)(b)(ii)-(iii), 7, and Comments to 5C(2)

1. May a judge serve on a statutorily created School Advisory Council for a public elementary school, where the council is tasked to assist with the preparation and evaluation of a School Improvement Plan setting forth recommended strategies to address and improve gaps or shortfalls in specific areas of academic achievement; assist in preparing school’s annual budget; and participate in determining how certain funds will be allocated among teacher bonuses, hiring temporary staff, or purchasing equipment or materials?

2. May a judge serve as a board member of a non-partisan political and public affairs organization, which functions to inform and educate the community’s business, political, and social interests and to promote more active participation by all citizens in the democratic process?  The inquiring judge’s role as a board member will involve no fundraising.

2016-12
5C(3) and 5D(3)

May a judge work for a for-profit company to earn supplemental income by securing potential accredited investors for the company?

2016-13
7

May a judicial candidate include the words “Vote for [CANDIDATE’S NAME] on August 30” in the candidate’s personal Facebook profile?

2016-14
4A, 5A & 5D(5)(h)

Whether a judge may directly solicit donations of used books for use by inmates at the local jail library?

2016-15 (Election)
1, 2, 3, 5, 7A, 7A(1)(e), 7A(3)(c),(d) & 7C(1)

1.       May a judicial candidate solicit contributions for an “electioneering communications organization” to be used to support the candidacy of the judicial candidate or oppose the candidacy of the judicial candidate’s opponent?

2.       May a judicial candidate’s committee of responsible persons solicit contributions for an “electioneering communications organization” to be used to support the candidacy of the judicial candidate or oppose the candidacy of the judicial candidate’s opponent? 

3.       May a judicial candidate coordinate the activities of his or her campaign with an “electioneering communications organization”? 

2016-16
2A, 2B, 4B, 4D(2)(b), 5A, 5C(3)(b); commentary to Canon 4(D)(2)

Whether a judge may be recognized at a reception for Women in Distress, a domestic violence center, when the event is not a fundraiser, the organization is not an advocacy group, and the attendance and recognition would not detract from the judge’s role as an impartial magistrate?

2016-17
5D(3)

1. May a judge own an interest in a closely held business with a person who is not a member of the judge’s family, be employed by this business during non-business hours, and be compensated for services provided by the business?

2. May a judge be employed by a closely held business where the judge’s spouse owns an interest in the business with a person who is not a member of the judge’s family?

2016-18
2, 5D, 5F(2), and Commentary to Canon 5F(2)

May a senior judge serve as a litigant-paid special magistrate in a circuit in which the judge is currently presiding as a senior judge?

2016-19
4, 4A, 4B, 4D(1), 5, 5A, 5C, 5C(2), and 7

May a judge apply to the Governor of the State of Florida for a seat on the Constitution Revision Commission, and if appointed, serve as a gubernatorial appointee?

2016-20
5A(1), 5C(3), 5C(3)(a), 5C(3)(b)

1. May the inquiring judge serve on a local bar association committee formed to host a golf tournament, which is a fundraising event for the Guardian Ad Litem Foundation, an entity that appears in every dependency case coming before the judge?

2. May the inquiring judge attend the golf tournament and assist with organizational tasks such as setting up the silent auction, serving food and beverages, setting up hole sponsor signs, taking pictures, and other non-fundraising tasks?

2016-21
1, 2, 7, 7A

1. May a judge attend the 2017 Presidential Inauguration?

2. May a judge attend the Florida Inaugural Ball being hosted by the Florida State Society?

2016-22
5D(3),5F(2),5G, Application

Whether a senior judge may work part time for an insurance adjusting company as an insurance umpire in any circuit in which the senior judge may preside.