September 20, 1985
Opinion No. 85/14
Canon 5C and 6
You state that you are a limited partner in three Florida limited partnerships. The partnerships were established for the purpose of developing a large residential condominium project. In each instance your limited partnership interest is one-half of one percent. The general partner is the controlling interest holder and usually has in excess of 80% of the limited partnership.
You have no control over the operation of the partnerships and there is no obligation on your part to make any future contributions. You do not know all of the limited partners except that one is an active trial lawyer who has occasionally performed legal services for the partnerships although he is not general counsel.
You inquire as to whether you should recuse yourself with reference to legal matters being handled by the attorney and his firm. The five responding committee members unanimously agree that your situation falls short of the type of relationship which would justify a declination to handle cases in which the attorney and his firm have an interest. All responding members agree that you should divulge your relationship under appropriate circumstances, although one member believes even this may not be necessary.
I refer you to Opinion Numbers 85/7, 85/8, 82/12 and 82/14, which contain references to Canons 5C (precluding financial dealings reflecting adversely on the impartiality of a judge or that involves the judge in frequent transactions with lawyers or persons likely to come before a court on which he serves), and Canon 6, relating to fiscal matters (requiring that a judge preserve the appearance of propriety in his financial dealings).
With regards, I remain
Yours very truly,
Oliver L. Green, Jr.
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
cc: All Committee Members
Participating members: Judges Booth, Blanchard,
Green, Grube 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