March 23, 1994
(Permitting former announced
(opponent, now withdrawn, to
(practice before judge.
(Ability to actively campaign
(while receiving negative
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
RE: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Your inquiry dated February 24, 1994
You have asked for an opinion from our Committee on two questions. Earlier this year you had announced opposition for your up-coming election. The announced candidate has now formally withdrawn. Our Committee finds no ethical problem in allowing this attorney to appear before you provided you have no personal hostile feelings toward the attorney.
The second question concerns your ability to act as an active candidate since you are continuing to receive negative publicity from a local newsletter. Under our existing Canon 7, active opposition is intended to include any form of organized public opposition or an unfavorable vote on a bar poll. All of our Committee members would agree that you have active opposition within the intent of the Code and that you may engage in appropriate campaign conduct just as if you had announced opposition.
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.