Receded from in Opinion 88-30
August 6, 1985
Opinion No. 85/10
Canons 4C and 5G
A majority of the Committee recommends that you withdraw from membership of the District Planning Council (F.S. 394.715). Basically, the purpose of the District Planning Council is to assess and develop a plan to meet alcohol, drug abuse, and mental health service needs of the Department of Health Rehabilitative Services, District VI, which includes Hillsborough, Manatee, Polk, Hardee, and Highlands Counties. I took the liberty of mentioning that you are presently assigned to the Criminal Division and will, from time to time, refer probationers for participation in programs which relate back to the Council. This situation could cause a conflict in the event of a violation of the condition of probation with reference to such treatment.
In any event, a majority of the Committee believe that your membership is proscribed by Canon 4C and 5G of the Standards of Conduct Governing Judges. Canon 4C provides that a judge "may serve as a member, officer, or director of an organization or governmental agency devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice." Canon 5C provides as follows:
"A judge should not accept appointment to a governmental committee, commission, or other position that is concerned with issues of fact or policy on matters other than the improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice. A judge, however, may represent his country, state, or locality on ceremonial occasions or in connection with historical, educational or cultural activities."
The Committee does not feel that the District Planning Council falls within the purview of the "legal system or the administration of justice." A majority also believes that your position may result in conflict situations because of your assignment to the Criminal Division.
The Committee's opinion is consistent with our Opinions Nos. 84/9, 77/13, 75/5, 74/16, 74/12, 73/1. For a possible contrary view, see Opinion No. 73/4.
Three members strongly disagree with the majority. They believe that service on the Council is not proscribed by Canon 5G. They commend you for volunteering your time in serving on the Council. They believe that the possibility of a conflict should not cause you to withdraw. One of the three suggests that in the event of a conflict, you might recuse yourself from that case, or even resign from the Planning Council.
Thank you for your inquiry.
Yours very truly,
Oliver L. Green, Jr., Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
cc: All Committee Members
Participating members: Judges Booth, Blanchard, Goldstein, Dell, Turner,
Green, Grube, Letts and Attorney M. Craig Massey
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
Kathleen T. Phillips, 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