November 21, 1995
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
Attendance at luncheon sponsored
by local Domestic Abuse Council , Inc.
In re: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Your Inquiry Dated November 2, 1995
You inquire whether it is permissible for you to attend a luncheon sponsored by the Domestic Violence Abuse Council, Inc., at which Denise Brown will speak about domestic violence. You currently serve in the family division and deal with domestic violence on a daily basis. The luncheon is to be held on November 15. You plan only on attending the luncheon and are not a speaker.
Canon 4B provides that a judge may "participate in other quasi-judicial activities concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice, subject to the requirements of this Code." Certainly, the topic of domestic violence relates to the law, the legal system and the administration of justice. Additionally, you are merely attending the luncheon. Therefore, all ten responding members of the Committee find that your attendance at the luncheon will not violate the Code. However, one member adds the caveat that "the judge should consider his current assignment, his appearance not lending judicial prestige to the event and his attendance is not used for fund-raising or membership solicitation."
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
CC: All Committee Members
Office of the State Courts Administrator
(Name of judge deleted from this copy)
Participating Members:Judges Cardonne, Dell, Doughtie, Green, C. Kahn, L. Kahn, Patterson, Rushing, Silverman and Tolton