April 25, 1988


Opinion 88/4

Corporate activities
Canon 5C and E

Re: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Your inquiry dated December 4, 1988 (sic)

Dear Judge

In your communication directed to Judge Tedder you posed the following questions:

1. May I be a stockholder in this corporation?

2. Can my name be used on the letterhead or on any solicitations outside the State of Florida? (I am aware that my office cannot be linked to a for profit enterprise within the State of Florida)

3. Can I serve as part of the mediation or arbitration team outside the State of Florida?

4. Can I serve as part of the mediation or arbitration team on non-work days inside the State of Florida so long as no mention of my office or status is revealed or advertised?

5. Assuming the answer is no to all of the above, may I nevertheless recommend this service to lawyers and parties who practice before me, assuming that I have no financial interest and have no participation in the corporation.

Questions 1 and 4, inclusive, must be answered in the negative. Canon 5C and E prohibit your involvement in or identification with the corporation.

Five members of the Committee are of the opinion that you may recommend the mediation and arbitration service to lawyers and parties who practice before you provided, of course, that you do not participate or have a financial interest in the corporation.

Three members of the Committee have expressed the view the Canon 2B prohibits you from conduct indicating that you are lending the prestige of your office to advance the private interests of others.

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).

Cordially yours,

Richard H. Frank, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges

cc: All Committee Members

Participating Members: Judges Booth, Dell, Frank, Goldstein, Levy, Shutter, Tedder, Turner and Attorney Page

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