February 12, 1991
Opinion No. 91-2
Canon 4A, B, & C
You wish to know if you can speak in behalf of the establishment of a
Children's Services Council in your county, as authorized by F.S. 125. The
committee unanimously agrees that you may do so provided the program is
law related and you do not become active in the fund raising aspect of the
venture. A judge is permitted to speak, write, lecture, teach and participate
in activities concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration
of justice. (Canon 4 A &B).
Canon 4C also provides:
He may serve as a member, officer, or director of an organization or governmental agency devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice. He may assist such an organization in raising funds and may participate in their management and investment, but should not personally participate in public fund raising activities. He may make recommendations to public and private fund-granting agencies on projects and programs concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice.
You may wish to review Opinion 78-14, which addresses a similar issue. It is believed that you can perform a valuable service by explaining a need for the program without emphasizing the tax consequences. You should avoid giving the appearance of personally pursuing the fund raising aspect of the referendum.
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, Jr., Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
cc: All Committee Members
Participating Members: Judges Green, Tolton, Booth, Dell, Doughtie,Farina, 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 .
Cynthia Grey,Director, American Judicature Society
Ms. Jean Underhill, Librarian, Broward County Law Library
Mr. Robert Wallace, Librarian, Dade County Law Library
Ms. Joan D. Cannon, Librarian, Supreme Court of Florida
William D. Wilkinson, Court Administrator, Lee County
Hon. Thomas H . Barkdull , Jr ., Third District Court of Appeal
Lynda Glyman, Esq. Center for Professional Responsibility, American Bar Association
Office of the State Courts Administrator, Legal Affairs &Education
Hon. Charles McClure, Chief Judge, Second Judicial Circuit