June 27, 1990
Spouse's employment as a licensed stock broker
In your inquiry you have presented two questions arising from the status of your wife as a licensed stock broker who in the course of her activities will visit attorneys in connection with estate planning and asset management:
1) Is she barred by the Code of Judicial Conduct from such activities?
2) The effect of the Code upon the judge in circumstances where attorneys she solicits appear before him.
The Committee is unanimous in the following conclusion:
The Code of Judicial conduct has no effect upon your wife's employment with an asset management company. Thus, the only question we can answer is the effect of her business activities upon you when attorneys appear before you who are in a commercial relationship with your wife. In the Committee's view, the answer is provided in Canon 3. The essential premise in following Canon 3 is that you must become aware of the attorneys your wife is soliciting or with whom she is doing business. In that circumstance Canon 3D should be observed.
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, 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
Lynda Glyman, Center for Professional Responsibility, American Bar Association