Opinions of the Judicial Ethics
Advisory Committee



2017


 

 Opinion
 Canon(s)
 Subject
2017-01
1, 2, 2B, 3E(1)

1. Is a part-time traffic hearing officer disqualified from hearing all cases being represented by attorneys to whom the traffic hearing officer had previously referred traffic-related cases?

2. Should the traffic hearing officer be required to disclose the previous practice of referring cases to the attorneys when those attorneys are appearing before the officer.

2017-02
2B, 4, 4A(1), 4C, 4D, 4D(1)

May a judge accept an appointment to the Florida Impaired Driving Coalition, an advisory body to the Florida Department of Transportation?

2017-03
3E(1), 3E(2)

1. Whether a judge must disclose that a lawyer appearing before the judge has referred a case to the judge’s spouse, a lawyer, and who may have shared, or will share, a fee with the referring lawyer.

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

2017-04
2B, 4B, 5D

1. May a judge allow law-related organizations and a private law firm to jointly host a free post-seminar reception at the judges’ courthouse?

2. May a judge accept food/drink provided by the organizations/law firm at such an event?

2017-05
2, 5D, 5F(2), and Commentary to Canon 5F(2)

ISSUE 1
May a senior judge serve as a court-appointed, litigant-paid independent investigator in a shareholders’ derivative action in a circuit where the judge does not preside?

ISSUE 2
If permitted to serve in that capacity, is the senior judge required to disclose such service and/or refrain from presiding over cases involving certain parties, lawyers, and law firms?

2017-06
2B, 5D 5D(5)(h), and Commentary

May a circuit’s chief judge accept a donation of copiers to be used exclusively by attorneys in the courtroom?

2017-07
5F(2), Application, Application B(1)

1. Whether Canon 5F(2) of the Code of Judicial Conduct applies to service as a senior judge on a District Court of Appeal.

2. Whether, if Canon 5F(2) does apply, a senior judge may serve on all cases before a District Court of Appeal when the senior judge currently provides arbitration services in one of the judicial circuits within the District Court of Appeal’s jurisdiction.

2017-08
2, 2A, 2B, 5A, 5B, 5C(3), Commentary to Canon 2A, Commentary to Canon 5A

1. May a judge serve as a “judge” for preliminary Miss America pageant competitions?

2. As a corollary inquiry, the inquiring judge seeks a determination whether the Canons prohibit participation at a pageant competition by showcasing a talent, such as singing.

2017-09
2, 2B

May a judge submit a letter to a municipality supporting the dedication of a little league baseball field in the name of the judge’s deceased former bailiff?

2017-10
3B(2) and 3B(5)

May a judge attend a private organization’s seminar, that is neither court nor bar association sponsored, regarding diversity and racial equality at the judge’s own expense?

2017-11
Preamble; Canons 5D(5); 5C(3)(b)(iii); 6; and Commentary to Canon 5D(5)(d)

Whether the Code of Judicial Conduct provides guidance for how a judge should dispose of an anonymous cash gift.

2017-12
5E(1), (2) & (3); D (4)

Whether a judge may serve as a co-trustee, of an irrevocable trust created by the judge’s brother-in-law, who resides in Florida, but does not reside in the circuit wherein the judge presides?

2017-13
5E; Application of the Code of Judicial Conduct

May a judge serve as the executor of an estate, a guardian, and/or a trustee on behalf of close relatives?

2017-14
(Election)
7A and 7C(1)
ISSUE ONE

May a judicial candidate personally solicit the support and/or endorsement of well-recognized public officials in the community (i.e., Sheriff, Police Chief, Property Appraiser, Tax Collector, County Commissioner, School Board Members, etc.)?

ISSUE TWO

May a judicial candidate personally solicit the support and/or endorsement of citizens in the community?

2017-15
4B and 5(C)(2)
May a judge speak to civic and community groups about the Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC) as part of a Florida Bar-sponsored “Protect Florida Democracy” program?
2017-16
(Election)
7, 7A, 7A(1)(b), 7A(1)(e), and 7D

1.  May a judge appear as the candidate’s spouse in a family photograph to be used in the spouse’s campaign seeking election to a partisan office?

2.  May a judge appear at non-partisan events where the judge’s spouse, a declared candidate for an elected partisan office, will be speaking, for example, local citizens’ groups or neighborhood forums?

3.  May a judge attend any fundraising events for the judge’s spouse, a declared candidate for an elected partisan office, if those events are not sponsored by a political party (i.e., “friendraisers” at private homes)?

4.  May a judge wear a campaign button or any other item supporting the spouse’s political campaign?

2017-17
2 and 3E(1)

Whether a judge who has recently assumed the bench is required to self-recuse from presiding over cases in which a party was until recently a client of the judge?

2017-18
2A, 5A(1) and (2), 5C(3)(a)(i) & (ii)

1. May a judge who serves in an advisory role for a nonprofit cultural organization when the organization takes public positions on pending legislation? 

2. May a judge serve in an advisory role of a nonprofit cultural organization sign a confidentiality agreement concerning matters learned while serving in that role?

2017-19
5B, 5C(2)

Whether a judge may serve on the board of directors of a neighborhood family community center which is funded almost exclusively by a government grant.

2017-20
3C(4), 3E(1)(d)(i-iv), 3F

1. Whether a judge shall be disqualified if an attorney from a law firm in which the judge’s brother-in-law is a partner appears as counsel in a case before the judge?

2. May a judge enter an agreed-upon order submitted by the parties appointing the judge’s cousin as a mediator?

3.Whether a judge shall be disqualified if the wife of the judge’s cousin appears before the judge.

4. Whether a judge shall be disqualified if the daughter of the judge’s cousin appears before the judge

5. Whether a judge must disclose the relationship when the wife or daughter of the judge’s cousin, or a member of their respective law firms, appears before the judge.