December 4, 1989
Opinion No. 89/18
Officer of a nonprofit charitable organization
In your communication you have asked whether the Code of Judicial Conduct bars you from the presidency of an advisory committee acting on behalf of a nonprofit organization dedicated to the placement of Black children with adopting families. It appears that the advisory committee supervises and manages the organization and that periodic meetings are held to implement the organization's objectives.
The committee has unanimously determined that your service as president of the advisory committee is not prohibited by the Code. The caveats attached to the determination are that your duties as president of the advisory committee not impair the exercise of your judicial duties through excessive recusal or otherwise adversely affect the full and fair execution of your responsibilities. A further cautionary note is prompted by the prohibition against a judge's involvement in fund raising. This comment is added only for the reason that organizations of the type how have described at times engage in fund raising to advance the organizational purposes.
I have also enclosed a copy of our opinion numbered 88/24.
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 Green, Tolton, Booth, Dell, Doughtie,Frank, Simons, Shutter and Clarke, Esquire.
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
Judson Orrick, 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 .
Deborah Solomon, American Judicature Society
Ms. Jean Underhill, Librarian, Broward County Law Library
Mr. Robert Wallace, Librarian, Dade County Law Library
Mr. Brian Polley, Librarian, Supreme Court of Florida
Mr. Richard Kuhn, Court Administrator, Lee County
Hon. Thomas H . Barkdull , Jr ., Third District Court of Appeal
Ms. Georgeanne Marsh, Center for Professional Responsibility, American Bar Association