January 4, 1993
Canon 5 - Charitable Activity
You have asked whether you can serve as a member of an advisory committee for the Adopt-A-Cop program, which you believe to be a pilot program for the Big Brother/Sister organization. You state that as of 1 January 1993, you will be assigned exclusively to criminal court and will have no responsibility for juvenile cases. Further, you state you would like to be of assistance in a social action program that fulfills a definite need in your area.
Canon 5B of the Code of Judicial Conduct states "a judge may participate in civic and charitable activities that do not reflect adversely upon his impartiality of interfere with the performance of his judicial duties."
The majority of the Committee believes that you proposed participation in this activity will not reflect adversely upon your impartiality or interfere with the performance of your judicial duties. The fact that the program works with police officers does not reasonably create a perception of partiality.
The Committee assumes you will not be involved with individual juveniles. Further, the Committee assumes that any conflict that might arise from your participation in the program will be so infrequent that recusal would not be a problem.
It is also understood that your name and judicial office would not be used for any type of fund raising. However, Canon 5B(2) does permit the organization/program to list your name on its literature if you are acting as an officer or trustee of the organization.
One Committee member would discourage your participation if you heard juvenile cases. The committee member believes that someone from the program would appear so frequently in court to testify that the resulting conflict would interfere with your judicial duties.
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,
Harvey Goldstein, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
cc: All Committee Members
Participating members: Judges Tolton, Green, Booth, Dell, Doughtie, Goldstein, Farina, Rushing and Clarke, Esq.
Office of State Court Administrator, Legal Affairs &Education