December 14, 1990
Opinion No. 90/26
You inquire about the effect of your appointment as traffic magistrate on a partner in your law firm. You ask if this law partner will be permitted to represent clients before other traffic magistrates, and will he be able to make political contributions out of the partnership account or from his personal funds.
With nine committee members responding, a majority advise that any law practice proscribed to you is proscribed to your partner and that partnership funds may not be used for political contributions. The partner may make political contributions in his name from his personal funds.
Three members believe the committee is without jurisdiction to answer your request because this concerns the conduct of someone who is not a judge.
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).
With regards, I remain
Yours very truly,
Oliver L. Green, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
cc: All Committee Members
Participating Members: Judges Green, Tolton, Dell, Goldstein, Booth, Doughtie,Frank, 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