April 19, 1994
(Assistant Statewide Prosecutor
(acting as part-time traffic
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
RE: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Your inquiry dated February 28, 1994
As a prospective traffic magistrate, you have requested an opinion from our Committee whether there is a legal or ethical conflict for an assistant statewide prosecutor to also act as a part-time traffic court magistrate. Our Committee would not be able to address or provide advice on legal conflicts. You should certainly research the area of conflict with statutory restrictions on dual employment or possible conflict with your full-time duties as a prosecutor. These questions are beyond the scope of our Committee.
All of our Committee members, with one exception, find that there would be no violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct in your serving as a traffic magistrate. If defense lawyers are permitted to serve as part-time magistrates, then prosecutors should be permitted to serve as well. The traffic court rules promulgated by the Florida Supreme Court prohibit traffic magistrates from practicing in certain areas. One Committee member finds that it would be improper for a full-time prosecutor to serve as a judge in any capacity.
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 Dell, Doughtie, Farina , Goldstein, Kahn, Patterson , Rushing, Taylor, Tolton and Edwards, Esq.