June 28, 1993
(Canon 5B - Civic Activities
(Canon 4C - Activities to Improve the Administration of Justice - Board of Directors of (Organization to Rehabilitate Felons and Board of Directors of Family Day Care Home Association
Re: Committee on Standard of Conduct Governing Judges. Your inquiry dated May 13, 1993
You have asked whether your service on the board of directors of two organizations would create a conflict or potential conflict with the Code of Judicial Conduct.
The first organization is called the Step Program. It is your understanding the purpose of the program is to assist in the rehabilitation of felony offenders. The program's entire funding source will be an additional dollar imposed by judges in the sentencing of felons.
The second organization is the Family Day Care Home Association. This organizations made up of individual home providers of day care for pre-schoolers.
All of the nine participating committee members believe you may participate as a member of the board of directors of the Family Day Care Home Association.
Because the Step Program is entirely funded by fees ordered by judges as part of the sentencing process, the majority of the committee perceive a conflict with the Code of Judicial Conduct, to-wit: Canon 5B(2).
One member finds little difference between the Step Program and DUI countermeasure schools. The Florida Supreme court in 1988 stated a judge could serve on the board of directors of a DUI countermeasure school. However, even if membership on the board of directors is permitted, he questioned the need for a judge to serve as and official board member as opposed to simple attendance at board meetings as a liaison with the judicial system. Further he believes that judges should not serve on the board of directors of an organization that comes in direct contact with the court.
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 Goldstein, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
cc: All Committee Members
Office of State Court Administrator (name of Judge deleted from this copy)
Participating members: Judges Doughtie ,Green, Farina, Goldstein, Kahn, Patterson, Rushing, Tolton and Edwards, Esq.