March 18, 1994
(CANON 5, 7A
(Serving as director of charity.
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
RE: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Your inquiry dated February 2, 1994
As a traffic magistrate you have written our Committee for an opinion on the following questions:
The first involves your service as a member of the board of directors and legal counsel to the Hebrew Free Loan Association which is a charitable organization making interest free loans. Since attorneys represent clients regularly appearing in court, there would appear to be no prohibition in acting as a counsel for this association. Although a judge might be prohibited from serving as a director of the charity, it makes no sense to allow you to be legal counsel for the organization and prohibit you from being a director. Since this organization will not appear before you in traffic court, we find no problem in you service.
Your second question concerns making political contributions. We find no exception to the prohibition against political contributions as the rule applies to judges or traffic magistrates. Accordingly, political contributions appear to be prohibited whether you as an individual or you as a professional association.
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 So.2d 5 (Fla.1976).
Very truly yours,
Nath C. Doughtie, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
cc: All Committee Members
Office of the Courts Administrator (name of judge deleted from this copy)
Participating members: Judges Doughtie, Farina , Goldstein, Green, Kahn, Patterson , Rushing, Taylor, Tolton and Edwards, Esq.