June 4, 1992

(OPINION NO: 92-22
( CANONS 1- 4
(Action filed by
( Court

RE: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges - Your inquiry dated April 3, 1992.

Dear Judge

You inquire whether you may file a Writ of Mandamus with the Florida Supreme Court requiring the appellate division of your circuit to provide official court reporters to be either present at all County Court proceedings, or be available to transcribe electronically recorded proceedings.

Three members of the committee responded there is nothing wrong in presenting a legal challenge to improper practices within your circuit. In fact, these members indicate there may be a duty to do so in order to improve the administration of justice and to preserve the integrity of the Judiciary.

Three other committee members felt you should not take this action. These members indicated a public appeal to the Supreme court for relief of a rule, with which you disagree, damages the integrity of the Court, the intent and spirit of Canon 2 , and the express provisions of Canon 3 (B) (1). In short, these members suggested you work within the administrative framework of your circuit to change your present procedure.

.Finally, four members stated you were seeking legal advice with respect to participating in a lawsuit, therefore making a committee response inappropriate.

In summary, the committee is divided as to a response to your inquiry and no majority exists for any of the positions mentioned.

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

JT/mc

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