November 19, 1993
Personal and Confidential
Can county attorney represent judge
in his capacity as Committee Chairman handling
subpoenas for committee records
Re: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Your inquiry dated October 18, 1993
You have requested an opinion of our Committee based on the following circumstances:
You are a member of an advisory committee created by a county commission to advise the commission on problems concerning your courthouse. This advisory committee has accumulated many records and there are several lawsuits pending which concern the problems with the courthouse. You specifically wish to know whether the county attorney may represent you in your capacity as Committee Chairman in handling subpoenas for the committee records.
All participating members of our Committee concur and agree that it would be proper for the county attorney to represent a committee appointed by the county commission. In the event you are forced to develop any form of ongoing attorney/client relationship with the county attorney, then this disclosure should be made in suits involving you and the county attorney.
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).
Very truly yours,
Nath C. Doughtie, 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, Farina, Goldstein, Kahn, Patterson, Tolton and Edwards, Esq.