December 14, 1990
Opinion No. 90/28
In your inquiry of October 30, 1990, you wish to know if you may serve as a member of the Apothecary Board of Visitors at Florida A&M University. You do not specify whether the Board is an agency created by the state. While several members believe your inquiry does not furnish enough information to answer properly, a majority of the nine responding committee members agree that you may not serve if the Board is an agency of the state. We direct your attention to Canon 5G and prior Opinions 86/13 and 87/5.
You also inquire whether you may accept honorary membership in a social organization named, The Jockey Club. Membership is being offered to a "majority of county and circuit judges in Dade County." Several committee members believe that this inquiry also lacks sufficient information. A majority of six members believe that acceptance of the membership would be proscribed. While the committee has held in prior opinions that honorary Bar membership is not proscribed (see Opinion 84/4) honorary memberships in social clubs have been found to be prohibited. (See Opinions 83/5 and 78/17).
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