November 29, 1993
Personal and Confidential
Lawyer sponsoring a reception
for judges up for election
Re: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Your inquiry dated October 19, 1993
You have requested an opinion concerning a reception for several judges that are up for election in 1994. All of the responding members of our Committee concur in the following responses:
1. Yes, it is permissible for a group of lawyers to sponsor a reception on behalf of several judges.
2. The reception can contain the words, "in support of the re-election of".
3. It is not required that all judges up for re-election be included in the reception.
4. Opponents of the judges need not be invited. (This presumes that the reception is not sponsored by a partisan political group.)
5. The reception is probably an in-kind campaign contribution, however, the question of a campaign account and how to declare the in-kind contribution is governed by the election laws and our Committee is not in the position to offer legal opinions on the questions of election law.
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, Green, Kahn, Patterson, Rushing and Edwards, Esq.