August 4, 1992
Opinion No. 92-32
Re: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges - Your inquiry dated June 24, 1992
You have asked whether you may sign without reference to your judicial office a petition for an individual who wants to qualify for election to a judicial or non judicial, partisan or non-partisan office. You state that the petition does not indicate that your signature is an endorsement and that your sole purpose in signing the petition is to allow the petitioner to qualify for the ballot without paying the qualifying fee.
The Committee believes that Canon 7A(1)(b) and Canon 2 prohibits this proposed activity. Your signature on the petition may reasonably be perceived as an endorsement of the candidate for public office. Further, you may have to sit on a canvassing board and your signature on the petition may give the appearance that you are not impartial.
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).
Harvey L. Goldstein, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
cc: All Committee Members
Participating members: Judges Goldstein, Tolton, Levy, Booth, Dell, Doughtie, 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
Wilbur McDuff, 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