Receded from in Opinion 20000-17
January 21, 1994
Personal and Confidential
Participating in fashion show put on
by a find raising organization
Re: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Your inquiry dated December 9, 1993
You have inquired about the propriety of participation as a model in a fashion show put on by the local Legal Aid Society. This event is a major fund raiser for the Society. you have specified that your participation would not be disclosed until the moment you walked on stage and that there would be no prior notice of a "mystery guest model". No fund raising would occur after you appearance. Five members of our Committee feel that there would be no impropriety in your participation under the conditions as outlined. Four members feel that you should not participate as a guest model. I have enclosed Opinion 88-31 in which this Committee found that the mere fact that the event has fund raising as its objective would foreclose participation by members of the judiciary. On the other hand, Opinion 89-19, copy enclosed, found that a judge could act as a sideline-marker holder at a find-raising sports event. Certainly judges are permitted to attend fund raising events despite the fact that the judges mere attendance could lend some prestige to the event. One concern among the members that found you should not participate was that the appearance by a judge could become somewhat of an annual event and that people would attend in hopes of seeing who the "mystery judge" would be. Other members suggest that this is reading more into the situation than you presented in your letter.
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 Dell, Doughtie, Farina, Goldstein, Green, Kahn, Patterson, Rushing and Tolton