October 27, 1995

Receded from in Opinion 99-17



Should Commissioner/General Master
serve on Health and Human Services Board

In re: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Your Inquiry Dated September 12, 1995


You inquire about the propriety of your service on the District IX Health and Human Services Board.

The Code of Judicial Conduct provides that Commissioners/General Masters must conform to Canons 1, 2A, and 3 while performing judicial functions. The Code also states that other Code provisions might reasonably be applicable depending on the nature of the judicial function performed. This implies that a Commissioner/General Master must adhere to the Code only when performing a judicial function. Serving on this Board is not a judicial function, and is exempt from Code requirements.

You include opinions that point out that, even were you a judge, membership on this particular Board would be in accordance with the Code. Opinion 88-24 holds that a judge could serve as a member of the ADA Planing Council, which is the forefather of the Board you wish to serve on. The functions of the two bodies appear substantially the same. The new Board reflects HRS's reorganization on a more local level. Opinion 88-30 follows 88-24. Additionally, the Florida Supreme Court in Conference committee Minutes dated May 21, 1986 stated that it was permissible for judges to serve on DUI School Boards. Six of our Committee members have responded find that there is no ethical problem in serving on this Board. One member felt that you should not serve on the Board since you are referring patients to HRS in connection with your other positions.

In summary, the Code does not apply to you in your desired Board position. Even if it did, your membership is consistent with the Code.

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,

Oliver L. Green, Jr., 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 Cardonne, Doughtie, Green, C. Kahn, L. Kahn, Patterson, Rushing, Silverman and Tolton