January 18, 1985

Opinion No. 85/1


This letter is in regard to your telephone inquiry as to your status as trustee for the estate of a former Gainesville attorney, in view of your upcoming swearing-in as county judge. The Governor called to appoint you last Thursday.

Your inquiry is: (1) whether you should continue to serve as trustee, and (2) whether you could be sworn in while you still had not divested yourself of the trusteeship.

We discussed Canon 5D, which plainly states a judge should not serve as trustee, subject to a "family" exception, which is not applicable here. Since you have been serving as trustee for the widow without compensation, this means, unfortunately, that your resigning the trusteeship will require a bank become trustee. The necessary paperwork, you estimate, will take one month and will be done by another attorney who is not associated with you in any way. In view of the time limitations, I recommended that you write a letter to that attorney explaining your divestiture of the trusteeship under Canon 5 and urging him to act with due diligence in the matter of the new trustee. You, of course, would take no further official action as trustee after being sworn in.

By copy of this letter to the Committee, I am requesting that any Committee members who wish to disagree or to add to this recommendation should call me immediately.


Anne C. Booth, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges

cc: All Committee Members

All reference to the inquiring judge is deleted from the copies sent to the following individuals.

Mr. Sid White, Clerk of the Supreme Court of Florida
Linda Yates, Managing Editor, The Florida Bar Journal
Mark Hulsey, Esq., Chairman, Judicial Qualifications Commission.
Hon. Howard T. Markey, Chairman, Ethics Advisory Panel of the Judicial Conference of the United States .
Jeffrey M. Shaman, Esquire, Director, Center for Judicial Conduct Organizations
Ms. Jean Underhill, Librarian, Broward County Law Library
Mr. Robert Wallace, Librarian, Dade County Law Library
Mr. Brian Polley, Librarian, Supreme Court of Florida