August 14, 1992
Opinion No. 92-34
Re: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges - Your inquiry dated June 23, 1992
You, a Judge assigned to felony cases, have asked whether the Code prohibits you from attending or speaking at ceremonies held by law enforcement agencies during Law Enforcement Recognition Week to honor those officers killed in the line of duty.
All Committee members agree that you may attend those ceremonies. They do not believe that reasonable people would conclude that your appearance at those ceremonies would significantly undermine public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. The Committee concludes there isn't an appearance of impropriety.
However, several Committee members believe a Judge should not attend the ceremonies if the Judge is presiding over the case involving the death of the police officer being honored.
Other members expressed concern that the ceremonies be a true memorial and not generally perceived as part of any political law enforcement agenda.
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
Office of State Court Administrator (name of inquiring Judge deleted from this copy)
Participating members: Judges Goldstein, Tolton, Green, Levy, Booth, Dell, Doughtie, Farina, Rushing, and Clarke, Esq.