January 22, 1988
Opinion No. 87/21
Canons 2A, 2B, 3, 5B and 7
This letter is in response to your inquiry of June 15, 1987. Pardon the delay in responding.
You have written and delivered two speeches to various organizations and groups. You have been approached by a magazine publisher who wants to publish both in a national publication. One of the speeches was entitled "The Right to Bear Arms" and the other was entitled "Crime."
You asked the committee's opinion if your title "Judge" may be used in the publication of either or both articles. The second question is if the title "Judge" cannot be used with your name, is there a prohibition in having the article published if your title is not given.
Nine of ten members of the Committee responded to your inquiry and the responses were divided. Four members are of the opinion that you may publish the articles and that your occupation as "Judge" can be shown in the biographical background by the publisher. One of the above members did have concern that you not give any appearance in your articles that you are not impartial in faithfully following the law.
Two members are of the opinion that the publication of the articles using your title "Judge" would be proscribed by Canon 2B, but that the articles could be published if no mention is made of your official position.
One member is of the opinion that the publication bearing your name and title are proscribed by the principles enumerated in Canon 2A.
Two members opined that the subject of the speeches and the use of your title in these publications would be potentially violative of Canons 2B, 3, 5B, and Canon 7.
Accordingly, you are advised that the various opinions stated herein were based on the information furnished in your letter, together with copies of the proposed publications.
We appreciate your inquiry and trust that the foregoing information will be of some assistance to you.
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).
Very truly yours,
George W. Tedder, Jr.
cc: All Committee Members
Participating members: Judges Blanchard, Booth, Dell, Frank, Goldstein,
Green, Shutter, 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
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