September 3, 1987

Opinion No. 87/11

Dear Judge

You have requested that the Committee advise you of the propriety of presiding over cases defended by an assistant public defender who is engaged in the practice of law with your wife.

In the past you have been able to resolve your ethical concerns through an internal arrangement confining the assistant public defender to matters arising in the Circuit Court. As of July, 1987, however, the assistant public defender has been assigned to cases within the jurisdiction of your court.

It is the Committee's opinion that the ethical considerations which have been honored in the past, resulting in the assistant public defender not appearing before you, continue to exist. Thus, in the absence of reversion to the pre-July, 1987 method of assigning the assistant public defender, it appears, as burdensome as it might be to the system, that you are committed to the procedure prescribed in Canon 3(D).

I have enclosed a copy of Opinions 76/12 and 85/2 which may be helpful.

Cordially yours,

Richard H. Frank
Vice Chairman

cc: All Committee Members

Participating members: Judges Blanchard, Booth, Dell, Frank, Goldstein,
Green, Shutter, Tedder, Turner 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
Brooke S. Kennerly, Executive Director, 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