May 20, 1993
Local land trust
You state a local Land Trust is being formed as a non-profit organization incorporated for acquisition, transfer, management, restoration, conservation and preservation of land and structures with natural, recreation, scenic, or historical value.
You have asked whether a judge may attend the meetings and participate on one of the councils or committees to help the land trust achieve its goals.
You also state that you understand you could not participate in any fund raising activities nor lend the prestige of judicial office for such.
All ten participating committee members agree that you may participate provided you follow the limitations expressed in Canons 5B(1), 5B(2) and 5B(3). For example, it may be necessary to discontinue participation if the organization regularly engages in adversary proceedings in any court.
One member expressed concern that land trust occasionally become involved in extremely volatile and political issues with a great deal of publicity. He believes it is necessary for you to ensure that your activity with the group does not reflect adversely on your impartiality or 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, Kahn, Patterson, Doughtie, Dell, Goldstein, Farina, Rushing and Edwards, Esq.
Office of State Court Administrator, Legal Affairs &Education