June 27, 1990
Opinion No. 90/11
Maintain real estate license
Receiving fee as trustee of family estate
In your inquiry you presented three questions for consideration by the committee. They are as follows:
1. May you be paid a fee in your capacity as a co-personal representative and co-trustee in an estate arising from your father's death. There are two beneficiaries, one of whom is you, and the other beneficiary does not object to a fee being paid to you.
2. May you receive commissions from a family-owned real estate business in which you participated as a licensed broker as a result of transactions which occurred prior to becoming a judge.
3. Is it proper for you to maintain an active Florida Real Estate License.
Eight members of the Committee have affirmatively responded to question 1. One member abstained from answering question 1; and nine members have responded affirmatively to question 2.
One member has also stated that your attention should be directed to Canon 5D noting that the Canon is relevant to whether you may continue to serve as a con-representative of the estate.
The committee is unanimous in the conclusion that you may not maintain an active real estate license, but you may place your real estate license in an inactive status. One member of the Committee has suggested that in all cases involving a broker you should disclose the inactive status of your license.
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, Goldstein, Dell, Booth, Doughtie,Frank, Simons, 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
Lynda Glyman, Center for Professional Responsibility, American Bar Association