June 28, 1995
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
(Team Member Participation
(Kiwanis Bingo Games
In re: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Your Inquiry Dated May 19, 1995
You inquire whether you may participate as a team member in on-going bingo games at a local Senior Citizen's Center as a fund-raising project for Kiwanis International.
CANON 4C(3)(b)(I) states that a judge "... shall not personally participate in the solicitation of funds or other fund-raising activities, except that a judge may solicit funds from other judges over whom the judge does not exercise supervisory or appellate authority. (Emphasis supplied.)
In Opinion 92-38, the Committee unanimously stated that a judge could not personally collect coats and gloves to be distributed through the Salvation Army to those in need. See also Opinion 94-33, where the Committee advised a judge, who was a chairperson of a Domestic Violence Task Forece, that she should not personally solicit "in kind" donations.
The eight participating members of the Committee unanimously felt that you should not personally participate as a team member of the bingo games. One concurring judge added, "I also suggest that there would be an appearance of impropriety for official participation through an organization in bingo, which the public may associate with activity unbecoming a judge."
The Committee is expressly charged with rendering advisory opinions interpreting
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 Cardonne, Doughtie, Green, Kahn, Patterson, Rushing, Silverman, andTolton