SUBJECT: Whether a judge may continue to serve in the
capacity of a guardian after assuming the bench
The inquiring judge has, prior to her appointment to the bench, served for several years as the guardian of the property for a physically disabled man who has a set monthly income. She wishes to know whether she may continue to serve in the capacity of guardian after assuming the bench.
Canon 5E(1) provides that a judge shall not serve as guardian or other fiduciary except for the estate, trust or person of a member of the judge's family, and then only if such service will not interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties. Accordingly, the inquiring judge may not serve as guardian of the property.
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 judge, but the Judicial Qualifications Commission is not bound by the interpretive opinions issued by the committee. Petition of the Committee on Standards of Conduct for Judges, 327 So.2d 5 (Fla.1976).
Dated the 28th day of January, 1997.
Charles J. Kahn, Jr.
Chairman, Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Participation Members: Judges Cardonne, Dell, Green, C. Kahn, L. Kahn, Patterson, Rushing, Silverman, Smith, Tolton and Attorney Novicki
cc: All Committee Members
Office of the State Courts Administrator (name of judge deleted from this copy)