Opinions of the Judicial Ethics
Advisory Committee



Conduct Toward Lawyers, Parties, Witnesses, Court Personnel



Canons
Fla. Code Jud. Conduct, Canon 1 Judge should observe high standards of conduct and personally observe those standards.
Fla. Code Jud. Conduct, Canon 3B(4) Judge shall be patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity.
Fla. Code Jud. Conduct, Canon 3B(5) “A judge shall perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice. A judge shall not, in the performance of judicial duties, by words or conduct manifest bias or prejudice, including but not limited to bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status, and shall not permit staff, court officials, and others subject to the judges direction and control to do so. This section does not preclude the consideration of race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or other similar factors when they are issues in the proceeding.” [Emphasis supplied].
Fla. Code Jud. Conduct, Canon 3B(6) “A judge shall require lawyers in proceedings before the judge to refrain from manifesting, by words, gestures, or other conduct, bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status, against parties, witnesses, counsel, or others. This Section 3B(6) does not preclude legitimate advocacy when race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or other similar factors are issues in the proceeding.”
Opinions
JEAC Opinion Number
Subject
A magistrate and a judge may not communicate on a point of law at any point in a case without the communication being prohibited as ex parte.  3B(7)(c); Commentary 3B(7);  Application Section.
Judicial circuit may use the volunteer services of retired attorneys who no longer practice law to perform the functions of judicial staff attorneys.  1; 2; 3C(2).
Judge may permit an elder justice program, established by the court, to provide to the public a list of attorneys who have indicated their availability to represent laypersons who serve as guardians in guardianship proceedings because the list is not associated with any particular judge, it does not recommend any particular attorney, and it is open to all attorneys.  2A; 2B; and 4B.
Judge may recommend a mediator in an adversarial proceeding if requested to do so by all parties.  However, to avoid the appearance of any preference, the judge should recommend at least three mediators.  Also, if the judge is asked for such a recommendation on more than one occasion, he or she should not repeatedly recommend the same mediators.  No canons cited.
Although judicial assistants are not bound by the Code of Judicial Conduct, judge has obligation to direct his or her judicial assistant not to accept employment cleaning the offices of attorneys likely to appear before the judge.  Since the judge could not accept such employment because of the appearance of impropriety, it follows that the judge should not allow someone under his or her direction or control to accept such employment.  2B; 5A; 5D(1), (4).
Judges have a duty to investigate and disclose to The Florida Bar the potential unauthorized practice of law by suspended attorneys in their courts because judges, like any other attorneys, are obligated to maintain the integrity of the Bar. 3D(2).
Judge may not hire current city councilman as a staff attorney because the councilman would still be serving as an elected official around the clock, and hiring an elected public official is rife with the appearance of impropriety. 1, 2, 3C(2) and 3C(4).
Judge may not publicly comment about a legal proceeding while a related proceeding is still pending because any public comment might affect the outcome or impair the fairness of the pending proceeding. 3B(9).
While senior judge may send announcement of his or her availability to serve to Chief Judges within Florida, such announcement should be limited to the senior judge’s qualifications and availability, and it should not contain any matter that could be perceived as demeaning the office of the judiciary. 4A(2).