December 14, 1988
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
Pre-investiture practice of law
Re: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Your inquiry dated November 2, 1998
In your inquiry you have posed four questions:
1. Can a private practitioner who has been elected to judicial office continue to practice before the other courts of the circuit where he is to preside prior to being sworn in?
2. Can a private practitioner who has been elected to judicial office continue to practice before other courts of this state prior to being sworn it?
3. Should there be any distinction made between continuing to practice criminal law as opposed to civil law?
4. Should there be any distinction made between an appearance in jury as opposed to non-jury trials?
The Committee's response is that you may, prior to being invested, continue to practice before the courts of the circuit where you will preside; that you may practice in other courts prior to assuming judicial duties; that there is no distinction between practicing in the criminal field as opposed to civil matters; and, that there is no distinction in appearing in a jury trial as opposed to a non-jury proceeding. On a previous occasion I furnished you with opinions 74/13 and 84/21.
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).
Richard H. Frank, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
cc: All Committee Members
Participating Members: Judges Booth, Dell, Frank, Goldstein, Green, Levy, Tolton 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. Walter K. Stapleton, 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