February 27, 1992
(OPINION NO: 92-11
(Conflict with judicial duties
RE: Committee on Standards of conduct Governing Judges - Your inquiry dated January 29, 1992
You ask whether, as a member the statutorily created Children's Services Council of your county, you may cast any vote on requests for funding from the Council, where many of the organizations seeking funding are regularly involved in cases before you.
Nine members of the ten member committee responding agreed Canon 5 controls and you are faced with a definite conflict of interest any time one of these organizations requests funding from the Council. The committee felt you acted appropriately in refusing to vote and, if you must remain on the council, continuing to abstain from voting in al instances in which you perceive a conflict.
The question whether you can be compelled to remain on the Council is outside the jurisdiction of this committee, and we respectfully must decline comment.
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,
Jere Tolton, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
cc: All Committee Members
Participating members: Judges Tolton, Green, Levy, Booth, Dell, Doughtie, Goldstein, Farina, Rushing and Clarke, Esq.
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
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
Hon. Charles McClure, Chief Judge, Second Judicial Circuit
Office of State Court Administrator, Legal Affairs &Education