April 26, 1993
Canon 3C Disqualification
Judge and attorney are owners of condominium/
Attorney is godfather to judge's child
You have asked whether you should:
(1) Automatically recuse yourself from all cases involving a particular attorney with the following set of facts or
(2) Just file a written disclosure to opposing parties of your relationship to the attorney in every case (in which) he appears.
You state that you and this attorney are joint owners of condominium unit which is encumbered by a mortgage. The unit is presently up for sale. The attorney and you never practiced law together and are not related by marriage. However, he is the godfather to one of your children.
All eight participating Committee members agree that you have a very close familial and economic relationship with the attorney and pursuant to Canon 3C you should disqualify yourself in all proceedings in which the attorney appears because your impartiality may reasonably be questioned.
The Committee appreciates your inquiry and hopes this response is helpful.
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 Green, Kahn, Dell, Doughtie, Goldstein, Farina, Rushing and Edwards, Esq.
Office of State Court Administrator, Legal Affairs &Education