Opinions of the Judicial Ethics
Advisory Committee



2020


 

 Opinion
 Canon(s)
 Subject
2020-01
1, 2A, 2B, and 6

Whether a judge may publish the judge’s dissertation as a book and receive compensation for sale of the book.

2020-02
5C(3)(b)(iii); 4D(2)(b); 2

Whether a judge may attend an awards event recognizing advocates for children.

2020-03
4B

MAY A JUDGE PARTICIPATE IN A PANEL DISCUSSION ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING AT AN EVENT SPONSORED BY A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION?

2020-04
5C(3)(b)(iii); 4D(2)(b); 2

Whether a judge may attend an event honoring black female judges.

2020-05
3B(7)(8)&(9), 4, 5A(1-6)
Commentary to Canons 3B(8), 4A

Whether it would violate the Canons of Ethics for a judge presiding over a Dependency/Delinquency docket to meet with the attorneys working for Children’s Legal Services to discuss docket management, scheduling issues and expectations for motion practice, without also inviting other stakeholders including attorneys for the Guardian Ad Litem Program, the Office of the Regional Counsel, the office of Public Defender, the office of the State Attorney, the Department of Juvenile Justice, and private attorneys who have appeared in active cases before the presiding judge.

2020-06
(Election)
7A(2)(b)

May a judicial candidate accept an endorsement from an elected official who is currently seeking re-election during the same cycle?

2020-07
7A(3)(b); 7C(1)

Whether a candidate may permit the candidate’s father-in-law to write letters and emails to professional acquaintances in support of the candidate’s candidacy (while refraining from asking for contributions).

2020-08
3E(1)(a) and (d), 3F

1. Whether disqualification is required when the judge’s brother-in-law is a partner in a large law firm whose members may appear before the judge, in view of the decision in Sands Pointe Condominium Association, Inc. v. Aelion?

2. If disqualification is required, is remittal of disqualification pursuant to Canon 3F permissible?

3. If disqualification is not required, is disclosure required?

2020-09
(Election)
7C(1)

1.  May a judicial candidate appear on a computer or TV screen during a video meet and greet or video fundraiser while a donation button appears on the screen?

2.  May a judicial candidate appear on a computer monitor for a virtual fundraiser and can a donation button appear if the candidate leaves the screen temporarily, and then the button disappears when the judicial candidate reappears on the screen?

3.  May a committee of responsible persons solicit donations for a judicial candidate during a telephonic campaign event if they are in another room other than the judicial candidate and the judicial candidate temporarily leaves the event during the request?

4.  May a judicial candidate work with a committee of responsible persons to do introductions telephonically and once the judicial candidate leaves the conversation may members of the committee solicit support and/or donations?

2020-10
(Election)
7A(3)(d), 7C(1)

1. May a judicial candidate’s campaign committee maintain a Facebook page on behalf of the candidate and post updates and communications on behalf of the candidate that are written in the first person (i.e., as if the candidate is communicating directly to the reader)?

2. May a judicial candidate hire a vendor company where a principal of that company is an officer in a partisan political committee?

2020-11
2B

A family member of the inquiring judge asked the judge to write a foreword for the family member’s memoir. The foreword will not state that the judge is a judge. The memoir will be self-published through an online publishing company and will be available for sale on commercial websites.

2020-12
2, 2B

May a judge submit a letter to a law school on behalf of a student explaining unique family circumstances of which the judge has knowledge so that the student can maintain his financial aid?

If the judge is permitted to write the letter, may it be done on judicial letterhead?

2020-13
7A(c)(3) and 7C(1)

May a judicial candidate include on a campaign website (a) a video of the candidate personally describing experience, qualifications, and similar subjects; (b) an invitation to potential followers to watch the campaign website for updates and to submit questions to the candidate; and (c) personal requests for support in both English and Spanish?

2020-14
(Election)
4D, Canon 5C, Canon 7A and Canon 7C

May a candidate’s Committee of Interested Persons solicit financial contributions through a fundraising letter which contains a list of the Committee members, including close family members of the candidate?

2020-15
2B, 4A, 7A(3)(b), 7C

1) Whether it is improper for a candidate for judicial office to ask sitting judges to answer questions or offer comments that would be included in a book the candidate is writing about the judiciary.

2) Whether publishing a book during an election cycle containing comments from members of the judiciary serve as an endorsement of the candidate by the judges who offered comment

3) May a candidate for judicial office give away copies of books the candidate has written at campaign events?

4) May a candidate for judicial office release campaign related videos that promote the availability of books the candidate has written?

2020-16
(Election)
7A and 7C
May a judicial candidate post a message encouraging the readers to vote for or support the candidate, in social media groups (Facebook, etc.) which are composed of politically active individuals and which groups do not appear to be sponsored by any particular political organization?
2020-17
4D(2)(c); 5C(3)(b)(i)
May a judge serving on the Board of Directors of a non-profit organization whose purpose is not related to the improvement of the law, the legal system, the judicial branch, or the administration of justice, write a letter in support of the foundation’s application for grants from local and state governments?
2020-18
1, 2A, 4
May a judge or group of judges sign a proposed resolution urging that all judges remain vigilant in their continued efforts to keep racial bias out of the justice system?  May the group of judges submit the resolution to the chief judge of their circuit and to the Florida Supreme Court for consideration?
2020-19
5A
Whether a judge maypurchase raffle tickets at a charity auction.
2020-20
4, 4B, 4D

MAY A JUDGE RETAIN MEMBERSHIP IN AND SERVE ON A COMMITTEE FOR A FEDERAL BAR ASSOCIATION?

MAY A JUDGE CONTINUE TO MAKE EDUCATIONAL PRESENTATIONS TO LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENTS ON A SUBJECT THE JUDGE MASTERED WHILE SERVING AS A PROSECUTOR?

MAY A JUDGE CONTINUE TO PARTICIPATE IN EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS INVOLVING THOSE SAME SUBJECTS?

2020-21
1, 2A, 2B, 3A, 4A, 4B, 5A, 6

1. May a judge write and publish a biography of a noted attorney?

2. May such a work of non-fiction include accounts of criminal events and judicial decisions that may reflect negatively on the judicial system in place at the time of the events?

3. May a judge post the release date of the book on Facebook or other social media?

4. May the judge who is the author participate in book promotions and speaking engagements about the book in Florida or other states?

2020-22
2A, 2B, 3E(1), 5A, 5C(3)(a), 7

May a judge become a dues paying member of the NAACP?