March 2, 1995
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
(Applicability of New Code
(Judicial Candidates Qualifying
(Prior to New Code
In re: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Your Inquiry Dated January 5, 1995
As an attorney seeking election to Circuit Court you have requested an opinion on the applicability of the New Code of Judicial Conduct upon candidates who qualified prior to Janaury 1, 1995.
Eight responding members of the Committee would respond that the new Code applies to all candidates and their committees regardless of the date when their committee was established, and that although your campaign committee would not need to be abolished, it should remain inactive until one year before the 1996 general election.
The Committee would direct you to Opinion 95-2, which details several aspects of your question. One member dissented noting that he did not "find the 'should not' provision of Canon 7C(1) to be actionable" and one member of the majority noted that "... however, I am still of the opinion that we should point out that the directive concerning expenditure of funds is a 'should' and not a 'shall'."
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 judges, but the Judicial Qualifications Commission is not bound by the interpretive opinions by the Committee. Petition of the Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges, 327 So.2d 5 (Fla. 1976).
Very truly yours,
Steve Rushing, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct
CC: All Committee Members
Office of the State Courts Administrator
(Name of judge deleted from this copy)
Participating Members: Judges Dell, Doughtie, Farina, Green, Kahn, Rushing, Silverman, Taylor, and Tolton