April 30, 1987

Opinion No. 87/1
Canon 5
Interpretation of normal working hours for the purpose of performing weddings for compensation

Dear Judge

The Committee has considered your request for clarification of Opinion No. 83/15. While we appreciate the practical aspects of your question, we do not think it would be appropriate for this Committee to attempt to establish what constitutes normal working hours for a judge or a court. One Committee member expressed the view that it would be improper to accept compensation for performing marriages at the courthouse. He also concluded that doing so on lunch hours or in the evenings at the courthouse would give an appearance of impropriety, prohibited by Canon 6. However, a majority of the Committee believes that Opinion 83/15 is sufficiently self explanatory to convey the intent of the Committee. I hope that you will understand that further definition of the term "normal working hours" would depend upon the individual practice of the court.

We have based our opinion on the information furnished in your letter. The committee is expressly charged with rendering advisory opinions interpreting the application of the Code of Judicial Conduct to specific circumstances confronting or affecting a judge or judicial candidate. Its opinions are advisory to the inquiring party, to the Judicial Qualifications Commission and to the judiciary at large. Conduct that is consistent with an advisory opinion issued by the committee may be evidence of good faith on the part of the judge, but the Judicial Qualifications Commission is not bound by the interpretive opinions issued by the committee. Petition of the Committee on Standards of Conduct for Judges 327 So2d 5 (Fla. 1976).

We appreciate your inquiry and trust that the foregoing information will be of some assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

John W. Dell

cc: All Committee Members

Participating members: Judges Blanchard, Booth, Dell, Frank, Goldstein,
Green, Tedder and Attorney F. Shields McManus

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