January 14, 1993
Fiduciary Activities - Family Trustee
You state that you and your spouse have created and funded a charitable trust named after you and your spouse. You are presently serving as a co-trustee with your spouse. The trust will distribute its income and res to charities for the needy. You have asked whether your service as co-trustee is a violation of Canon 5D.
All participating committee members agree that pursuant to Canons 5D and 5B, you may continue to serve as co-trustee provided that this activity does not reflect adversely upon your impartiality or interfere with the performance of your judicial duties. The Committee assumes under the given facts that the trust is not conducted for the benefit of you, your spouse or family and the trust will not be involved in adversary proceedings.
Two members would add the caveat that your name and title not be used to further any particular charitable group and that the trust not be operated for the "economic or political advantage" of the trustees.
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