April 24, 1995
PERSONAL and CONFIDENTIAL
(Reconsider Opinion 91-23
In re: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Your Inquiry Dated February 16, 1995
You inquire whether judicial assistants are bound by the Code of Judicial Conduct and whether judicial assistants may participate in fund-raising activities to supplement the budgets of state and local organizations.
This same issue was recently raised in Opinion 95-12 and a majority of seven members felt that the Code did not apply to judicial assistants outside of the courthouse or beyond the specific proscriptions in Canons 2B, 3B(4) and 3C(2). However, some members felt that the Committee should caution judicial assistants that all activities, such as fund-raising, should be conducted in a dignified and appropriate manner, without reference or contact with any individual judge, outside the courthouse and without any misuse of the prestige of the judicial office.
One member felt that Opinion 91-23 should not be withdrawn.
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 opinionissued 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 Governing Judges
CC: All Committee Members
Office of the State Courts Administrator
(Name of judge deleted from this copy)
Participating Members: Judges Doughtie, Farina, Green, Kahn, Patterson, Rushing, Silverman, and Tolton