Opinions of the Judicial Ethics
Advisory Committee



Memberships, Organizations, and Avocational Activities



Canons
Fla. Code Jud. Conduct,Canon 2A Judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
Fla. Code Jud. Conduct,Canon 2C Judge should not hold membership in an organization that practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin. Membership in a fraternal, sororal, religious, or ethnic heritage organization shall not be deemed to be a violation of this provision.
Fla. Code Jud. Conduct,Canon 2C, Commentary This Canon is not intended to prohibit membership in religious and ethnic clubs, such as Knights of Columbus, Masons, B’nai B’rith, and Sons of Italy; civic organizations, such as Rotary, Kiwanis, and The Junior League; young people’s organizations, such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys’ Clubs, and Girls’ Clubs; and charitable organizations, such as United Way and Red Cross.
Fla. Code Jud. Conduct,Canon 2C, Commentary Whether an organization practices invidious discrimination is often a complex question to which judges should be sensitive. The answer cannot be determined from a mere examination of an organization’s current membership rolls but rather depends on the history of the organization’s selection of members and other relevant factors such as whether the organization is dedicated to the preservation of religious, ethnic, or cultural values of legitimate common interests to its members.

Fla. Code Jud. Conduct, Canon 4, quasi-judicial activities, & Canon 5, extra-judicial activities.  A judge must conduct all such activities so that they do not:  (1) cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially as a judge; (2) undermine the judge’s independence, integrity, or impartiality; (3) demean the judicial office; (4) interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties; (5) lead to frequent disqualification of the judge; or (6) appear to a reasonable person to be coercive. 

Fla. Code Jud. Conduct Canon 4D, 5C(3).  A judge may serve as a member, officer, director, trustee or non-legal advisor of an organization or governmental entity devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system, the judicial branch, or the administration of justice, subject to other requires of the Code.  A judge may serve as an officer, director, trustee or non-legal advisor of an educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, sororal or civic organization non conducted for profit, subject to other requirements of the Code.  However, a judge shall not serve in any such capacity if it is likely that the organization:

(i) will be engaged in proceedings that would ordinarily come before the judge, or
(ii) will be engaged frequently in adversary proceedings in the court of which the judge is a member or in any court subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the court of which the judge is a member.
Fla. Code Jud. Conduct,Canon 4D(1), Commentary The changing nature of some organizations and their relationship to the law makes it necessary for a judge to regularly re-examine the activities of each organization with which the judge is affiliated to determine if it is proper for the judge to continue the affiliation. See also Fla. Code Jud. Conduct, Canon 5C(3)(a), Commentary.
Opinions
JEAC Opinion Number
Subject

A judge may serve as a “judge” for preliminary Miss America pageant competitions. The Canons do not prohibit participation at a pageant competition by showcasing a talent, such as singing, subject to Code’s requirement that the judge act “at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.” 2, 2A, 2B, 5A, 5B, 5C(3), Commentary to Canon 2A, Commentary to Canon 5A.

A judge may attend the 2017 Presidential Inauguration and may attend the Florida Inaugural Ball being hosted by the Florida State Society. 1, 2, 7, 7A.

Task Forces and Public Policy Commissions
Judge may attend a diversity and racial equality seminar presented by a private organization. Judge shall remain faithful to the law and shall perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice. 3B(2), (5).
Judge may not participate in a county elections task force to address issues encountered in the judge’s county and throughout the state during a general election. To do so would involve the judge in the political process of the other branches of government. 5C(2), Commentary to 5C(2).
Judge may not serve on a local county ethics commission for the purpose of establishing a code of ethics for the county commission because such activity does not involve improving the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice.  4D; 5C(1); and 5C(2) and Commentary to 5.
Judge may serve as member of mortgage fraud task force because task force is devoted to improvement of the law, the legal system and the administration of justice; and it would involve no fundraising or promotion of private interests.  4D; 5C(2).
Judge may serve as member of the board of a local community children’s alliance, on a committee concerning family violence and its reduction, and on committees or organizations chaired by elected officials, even possibly in their election year, as long as these groups are not advocacy groups. 2C, 5A, and 5C(3).
Judge may participate in a local criminal advisory committee that would bring together representatives of various entities involved in the disposition of felony, misdemeanor, and traffic cases. 4, 5
Judge may serve as member of the Board of Directors of a public policy institute that researches and establishes dialogue on community-wide issues, then recommends and helps to implement timely solutions. 4, 5C(3)
Judgepresiding over juvenile delinquency court may belong to criminal justice and delinquency council open to practitioners and interested citizens and designed to facilitate interchange of information between the disciplines of the criminal justice system, inform and educate the public about the criminal justice system, perform community service, promote high standards of professional practice in the criminal system, and provide training programs. 4D
Judge may serve in a leadership capacity to implement nonpartisan citizen-developed recommendations to improve the community’s quality of life by improving race relations. 5A, 5C(3)
Judge may serve on the Board of Directors for an independent, non-partisan and non-profit organization which promotes, through thought and action, creative solutions to major private and public issues facing the people of Florida and the nation, such as, crime and prisons, constitutional review, public representation in the Legislature, greater participation by African-Americans in Dade County’s tourism industry, political campaign ethics, citizen participation in public decision, neighborhood community economic development, and hurricane catastrophic insurance. 5, 5D(1)(a) & (b), and 5C(3)(b)(i)
Chief Judge serving as member of task force created under the auspices of the Chief Judge to study gang related activities in the community and make appropriate recommendations regarding education of the public may write an introduction and history of the task force for an informational brochure, even if the Sheriff also writes comments for the brochure. 4D and 5C(2).
Judge may participate in the establishment of a county community justice coalition. 4, 4A, 4B
Judge may help organize and participate in a project designed to promote positive inter-group relations and understanding called, “Help Stamp Out Hate,” established nationally by the American Jewish Committee in conjunction with the National Conference of Christian and Jews, the National Council of Churches, and the National Conference of American Roman Catholic Bishops. 2B, 5B
Judge may serve as chair of task force designed to enhance community efforts to fight drugs and crime by evaluating governmental and private resources, but not fund-raising, initiating legislation, enforcing the law, or prosecuting crimes. 4,5
Judge may serve on the Progress 90 Board of Trustees, a non-profit community group representing a cross-section of the community and having as its sole mission to help citizens in setting and achieving community-wide goals as long as the organization is not conducted for economic or political advantage of its members and provided that it would not be an organization which would engage in proceedings that would ordinarily come before the judge or be in adversary proceedings in any court. 5B
College, University and School Organizations
An inquiring judge may not serve on a School Advisory Committee for a public elementary school because the committee is a committee concerned with issues of fact or policy unrelated to the law, the legal system, or the judiciary.  An inquiring judge may however serve as a board member of a non-partisan political and public affairs organization that functions to inform and educate the community’s business, political, and social interests and to promote more active participation of all citizens in the democratic process because a judge may become a member of and attend nonpartisan public awareness organizations. 5C(2), 5C(3)(b)(ii)-(iii), 7, and Comments to 5C(2).
Judge may serve as a college football referee, as long as it does not conflict with judicial duties. 2, 2B, 3A, 5A, 5B, 6A, 6B.
Judge may accept an invitation from a university editorial board member to critique a book written by the lead defense attorney of a well-publicized criminal case in which the defendant remains a party in pending proceedings. However, given the restrictions of the Code of Judicial Conduct and the possibility that the publisher or defense attorney would use the critique to advance their private interests, the judge should decline. 2B, 3B(9), 4A, 4B.
Judge may serve as an officer of the alumni association of a public university in Florida as long as the office does not involve conduct that violates Canon 5.  5; 5C, 5C(2); 5C(3); and 5C(3)(a) and (b).
Judge may continue to serve on regional planning council for a state university where the council has switched its focus from community awareness to fundraising, provided that the judge does not participate in the solicitation of funds.  But see JEAC Ops. 07-08 and 03-21; 5C.
Judge may not serve on board of trustees of a state university branch campus because it would constitute acceptance of a governmental position concerned with matters other than the improvement of the law, the legal system, the judicial branch, or the administration of justice.  4D; 5C(2) and Commentary; 5C(3).
County court judge may teach law-related subjects in police academy of local community college provided that the teaching activities do not cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially, demean the judicial office, or interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties; and that the judge reports any compensation received from the teaching in accordance with Canon 6. 2A, 4B, and 6.
Judge may participate in an interview for a textbook publisher concerning insight into the challenges, rewards and realities of working in the criminal justice system. There was no compensation involved. 4A and 4B.
2003-21
Recedes from JEAC Opinion 80-01
Judge may not serve on the board of trustees of a public community college because it involves a governmental position concerned with fact or policy issues and not matters relating to the improvement of the law, the legal system or the administration of justice. 5C(2), (3)
Judge may serve on board of advisors for a professional reference publication about the criminal justice system and the mentally ill because such participation is a teaching-related activity concerning the law, the legal system and the administration of justice. 4, 4A, 4B, 5 and 5A.
While judge may publish an article on the effect of new legislation where that article serves to educate others about the status of the law, the judge may not include conclusions as to the constitutionality of that legislation because such conclusions could be taken as an indication of how the judge would rule on certain matters. 4A and 4B.
Judge may be a member of the Parent-Teacher Student Organization. 5B
Judge may serve on the Board of Overseers of Stetson College of Law. 5
Judge may serve as member of the Advisory Council of the Women’s Development Center at a university, that fosters interrelations with committee members and students involved in the study of business and develops ways to create new businesses particularly for women. 5
Judge may participate as a member of a development board for a parochial school in an effort to establish an endowment trust to help subsidize affordable tuition for all students as long as judge not soliciting personally. 5B(2)
Statutorily-Created Entities
Judge may not serve on a statutorily-created county development authority which determines whether to fund grant requests from industry seeking to start or relocate in the county and from local governments seeking to upgrade their infrastructure, because such an authority is concerned with issues of fact or policy other than the improvement of the law, the legal system, the judicial branch, or the administration of justice.  5C(2).
Judge sitting on local canvassing board may accept reimbursement from the supervisor of elections to attend a seminar on canvassing because the reimbursement does not give rise to the appearance of impropriety.  The courts, election supervisors, and county commissioners are co-equals on canvassing boards; all are sworn to perform their duties impartially; and their decisions are public record and reviewable if properly challenged.  6A.
Judge may serve on the governing board of county’s Children Services Council which was statutorily created and requires a judge on the board. Judicial canons should be applied consistently with the statutes. See also Fla. Jud. Ethics Advisory Comm. Ops. 1992-11, 1993-46. 5C
DUI Countermeasure Schools
Judge may serve on the County Commission on Substance Abuse. 4D, 5C(2)
Judge may not serve on Board of Directors for an organization that operates DUI Countermeasure School because it also provides probation services for misdemeanor offenses. 4D
Judge may serve on Alcohol Drug Abuse and Mental Health District IV Planning Council, noting that the Florida Supreme Court rejected opinion 1986-8, and revitalized opinion 79-18. See also Fla. Jud. Ethics Advisory Comm. Ops. 1973-04, 1979-13, 1988- 24, 1993-23. 4C
Government Boards and Commissions

A judge may accept an appointment to the Florida Impaired Driving Coalition, an advisory body to the Florida Department of Transportation, provided the Coalition does not engage in matters that could reasonably be perceived as favoring the State in DUI prosecutions. 2B, 4, 4A(1), 4C, 4D, 4D(1).

A judge may seek and accept an appointment to the Florida Constitutional Revision Commission, being careful not to allow the work of the CRC to interfere with the performance of the judge’s judicial duties, because the work of the Commission meets the requirements of Canon 5(C)(2), involving “improvement of the law, the legal system and the administration of justice.”  4, 4A, 4B, 4D(1), 5, 5A, 5C, 5C(2), and 7.

A judge, assigned to the juvenile division, may not serve as the leader of an organization which advocates concerning human trafficking, because children who are alleged to have been the victims of human trafficking routinely appear before the judge. 5A.

Judge may not serve on a statutorily-created county development authority which determines whether to fund grant requests from industry seeking to start or relocate in the county and from local governments seeking to upgrade their infrastructure, because such an authority is concerned with issues of fact or policy other than the improvement of the law, the legal system, the judicial branch, or the administration of justice.  5C(2).
Chief Judge may not appoint members to a Board of Ethics created by municipal ordinance for the benefit of the municipal government because appointment would involve consultation with a legislative body and is not a matter concerning the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice.  5C(1) and 5C(2).
Judge may teach an educational/trial skills course at a Dependency Court Improvement Summit sponsored by the Department of Children and Families, provided that the teaching activities do not cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially.  A judge may also participate in planning the course, provided the planning process does not cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially.  A judge may recommend the names of practitioners to teach the course, but the judge should not "recruit" the prospective teachers if doing so might reasonably be perceived as coercive.  4A(1); 4B; 4D(2)(c).
Photograph of judge dressed in judicial robes with accompanying identification of him or her as a judge cannot be used in billboards or other materials for public relations campaign conducted by county library system because it would involve the use of the prestige of judicial office to advance private interests.  2A; 2B; 5A; 5A(1), (2); 5B; 5C(2); 5C(b)(iii); and Commentary to Canons 2B and 5.
Judge may serve on the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission because it is concerned with improving the law and it is unlikely that it would be engaged in proceedings that would ordinarily come before the judge or frequently before the judge’s court.  Further, since the Commission is not a part of either the executive or legislative branch, no separation of powers concerns are implicated.  4; 4A, B, and D; 4D(1); 5; 5A; and 5C(2).
Judge may not serve on congressional district committee to select candidates for military academies because committee is governmental and not concerned with the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice.  4D, 5, 5C(2), and Commentary to Canon 5C(2).
Judge may not participate as member of ad hoc committee interviewing final candidates for County Attorney in judge’s county because of political nature of appointment. 2 and 5.
Judge may serve on the Governmental Commission on Marriage and Family Support Initiatives, formerly known as the Commission on Responsible Fatherhood. 5C(2)
Judge may not serve as a board member on the Florida Worker’s Compensation Insurance Guaranty Association. 4D, 5C
Judge may accept appointment from a local legislative body to its advisory Commission on the Status of Women as long as the Commission is not an advocacy group and it is concerned with the improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice. 4D, 5C(2)
Judge may not serve as an appointed member of a commission of municipal government charged with fiscal oversight of government funds. 4D, 4D(1), 5C(2)
Judge may not serve as spokesperson in advertising campaign by Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles encouraging the use of child seats and seat belts for children and advising as to laws mandating same because such participation would cast doubt on the judge’s ability to act impartially in cases where persons are charged with violating those laws. 2B and 4A.
Judge may not serve on a county fire board that functions to set policy and procedures for the county fire department, including handling budget matters, personnel guidelines, and selections for nominees for new fire chiefs. The judge would be placed in the position of advising the fire department on how to spend its money and conduct its operations and advising and recommending personnel procedures. 4D, 4D(1), 5C(2)
Ajudge may serve in a leadership capacity on the Mayor’s Victims’ Assistance Advisory Council (VAAC). The mission of VAAC is to ensure and enhance the rights of crime victims by providing a forum for the public and private community to work together for the development and implementation of effective programs and education, prevention, and intervention. 4D, 5C(2)
Judge should not serve on an advisory board that would oversee a federal block grant secured by the local police department. Service on such a board would place the judge in a position of advising on the local police department how it should spend its money and conduct its operations. Although such a function may be related to the administration of justice, the potential for conflict is quite high because the inquiring judge would in essence be serving as an advisor to the police department. 4D(1)
Judge may not serve on city council’s advisory commission on alcohol and tobacco. This commission was established by city ordinance and acts in an advisory capacity concerning legislation relating to alcohol and tobacco. 5G
Judge may not serve as a member of a committee charged by the county commission to study and recommend whether a county should become a chartered county. 5G
Ajudge may serve as a member and chair of a county criminal justice advisory board to study and advise the Board of County Commissioners about a new jail facility as long as the judge is the Chief Judge or the Chief Judge’s designee to examine the status of every inmate of the county jail. Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.050(b)(3), (8); § 951.26, Fla. Stat. This inquiry is materially distinguishable from Opinion 1987-05 [judge cannot serve as a member and chair of a county fine arts council]because the duties of the advisory board relate to new jail facilities, a law related matter, in which the judge would have valuable input because of the judge’s background and experience. 4, 5G
Judge may not serve as chairman of a county fine arts council. Canon 5G expressly prohibits a judge from accepting appointment to a governmental committee, etc., that is concerned with an issue of fact or policy matters other than the improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice. The judge could serve on the council in an ex officio capacity. 4, 5G
Judge may not accept a position as chairman of a committee charged with redistricting a county within the circuit in which the judge presently serves as chief judge. 5G
Juvenile Boards
Judge may serve as a member of a District juvenile justice board and local councils. See also Fla. Jud. Ethics Advisory Comm. Op. 2003-11. 4C, 5B
Judge may serve in an advisory capacity on the Leon Regional Juvenile Detention Center’s Community Advisory Board. See also Fla. Jud. Ethics Advisory Comm. Op. 2003-11. (no canons cited)
Bar Associations and Organizations

A judge may allow law-related organizations and a private law firm to jointly host a free post-seminar reception at the judges’ courthouse and may accept food/drink provided by the organizations/law firm at the event. 2B, 4B, 5D.

A judge may not serve on a local bar association committee formed to host a golf tournament, which is a fundraising event for the Guardian Ad Litem Foundation, an entity that regularly appears before the judge. Service on the committee “casts reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially as a judge” as prohibited by Canon 5A(1). However, a judge may attend the golf tournament and assist with organizational tasks. 5A(1), 5C(3), 5C(3)(a), 5C(3)(b).

A judge may lend his or her name as an “Honorary Chairman” for a Bench-Bar tennis tournament organized by the local voluntary bar association which promotes collegiality between judges and lawyers where: (1) the event does not serve a fundraising purpose; (2) the bar association uses donations solicited from lawyer and non-lawyer sponsors to defray the event costs; and (3) the judge would not be involved in soliciting any donations, collecting any money, or making any payments.  2B and 4D(2)(b).
A judge may hold the offices of president and vice-president of a local chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocacy.  Since membership of the ABOTA is equally divided between the Plaintiff’s Bar and the Defense Bar, ABOTA is not considered an advocacy group for either plaintiffs or defendants.  4A(1); 4A(5); and 4D.
Judge who serves as president of the local Inn of Court may contact members of legislature on behalf of that organization to suggest passage or defeat of legislation relating to the funding and duties of the judiciary.  4D; 5A(1).
No impediment exists in Code of Judicial Conduct to a state judge’s remaining a member of a federal bar.  4D.
Judge’s mere attendance at educational seminars sponsored by criminal defense lawyers’ associations is permissible as long as the judge personally pays for the cost of the seminars, does not receive any gifts for attending, and the judge’s attendance is not used in any way to promote the seminars. 4B.
Judge-elect may continue to serve as member of Florida Bar Board of Governors until term on board expires, but judge may not seek reelection to board. 4, 4A, 4B, 4D, 5 and 5A.
Judge may remain as a member of the executive council of the trial lawyers section of The Florida Bar and the American Board of Trial Advocates. 4B
Judge may not belong to a voluntary bar association that endorses judicial candidates because membership would involve at least tacit endorsement of candidates, cast doubt on the judge’s ability to act impartially, and create the appearance of impropriety. 2, 4 and 7.
Judge may maintain membership in an email forum of real estate attorneys provided that judge limits participation to reading the posts and does not either ask or answer any questions. 2, 3B(7), 4, 5 and 5A.
Senior Judge subject to recall may serve on a judicial election campaign practices committee sponsored by the local bar association because the committee concerns the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice. 4, 4B.
Judge may be a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates which seeks to maintain and increase ethical and educational standards for trial lawyers. 4A
Judge’s membership in the Florida Academy of Trial Lawyers is precluded by Canon 4(A). 4A
Judge may not serve as an honorary judicial member of a committee formed by a local medical association and trial lawyers association. The committee was created for the purpose of fostering improved relations between the medical and legal professions. 2A, 4C, 5B
Judge may serve as chairman of the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar and may participate in some types of amicus activities. 5F
Judge may belong to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. (no canon cited)
Non-Profit Boards

Judge may not serve on the board of directors of a non-profit organization which owns and operates a charter school. Commentary to Canon 5C(2).

A judge may not assume a position of officer of an organization whose stated purpose is to benefit the families of law enforcement officers and firefighters.  Assuming the position of officer, with the view that the judge would move up the ranks to the position of presidency of that organization, would raise the appearance of impropriety that could cast doubt on the impartiality of that judge.  Canon 2A and Commentary to Canon 2A.
A judge may serve on the board of directors of a non-profit community organization for the purpose of assisting the organization to implement a program which assists persons previously convicted of crimes to find a job, mental health counseling, and a safe place to live so long as the judge does not: (i) assist the organization in fund raising; (ii) participate in the administration of public funds; nor (iii) contact potential employers to persuade them to employ ex-offenders.  5A & 5C.
Judge may serve on the board of directors and board development committee of a scouting organization, as long as the judge does not personally and directly participate in fund-raising or otherwise engage in conduct that could reasonably be deemed to be coercive. 5C.
Judge may become a board member of a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing financial assistance to anonymous needy children and families who are referred to the organization by a local law enforcement agency that will have one of its officers serve as a board member. The judge would not be involved in the organization’s fund-raising activities. 3E(1), 5A, 5B, 5C, Commentary to 5C(3)(a).
Judge may not accept a position on the board of directors of a private not-for-profit corporation organized to administer state money by contracting with third parties as part of the privatization of DCF funds. The judge would either be improperly serving on what is essentially a governing entity not concerned with the improvement of the law, legal system, judicial branch, or administration of justice, or be lending the prestige of judicial office to advance the interests of the corporation and/or a vendor it would contract with. 2B, 5C(2), 5C(3)(a)(i), 5C(3)(a)(ii).
A judge may not sit on the board of a charitable foundation whose principal source of income is the owner of a for-profit rehabilitation program to which the inquiring judge routinely directs misdemeanants, because the judge would serve on a board of an organization which frequently appears in court proceedings of a kind which the judge hears and the judge’s presence on the board may cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially as a judge.  Canons 2B, 5C(3), and 5C(3)(a).
A circuit judge presiding in a criminal division may continue to serve on the board of directors for a non-profit organization which provides a pre-trial diversion program and social services for juveniles who are at-risk of dropping out of school because participants in the program are diverted from or referred back to juvenile court instead of the adult criminal division in which the inquiring judge presides.  4A, 4D, 5, 5A, and 5C(3)(a).
Judge may not be a member of a newly-created legal committee of a non-profit organization named Women in Distress because the goal of the committee is to encourage pro bono support for the organization and its clients, and the judge’s participation could lend the prestige of judicial office to advance private interests and cast doubt on impartiality.  2A; 2B; and 5A.
Judge may serve on an executive committee for a non-profit, charitable organization as long as the judge is not directly involved in fundraising activities.  5C(3); 5C(3)(a); & Commentary to 5A & 5C(3)(a).
Newly elected judge may continue to serve on board of a non-profit rural health clinic where the board does not participate in day-to-day management or fundraising, unless frequent disqualification would be necessary. 2A; 5A; 5C(3). 
Judge may serve as member of county’s affordable housing board and as a board member of county’s public policy institute because neither group is a governmental committee and the judge will not be called upon to participate in fundraising or membership solicitation.  5; 5B; 5C; and Commentary to Canon 5.
Judge may participate as a member of the board of directors of a Family Day Care Home Association, an organization made up of individual home providers of day care for preschoolers. 4C; 5B
Civic Organizations
A judge may not assume a position of officer of an organization whose stated purpose is to benefit the families of law enforcement officers and firefighters.  Assuming the position of officer, with the view that the judge would move up the ranks to the position of presidency of that organization, would raise the appearance of impropriety that could cast doubt on the impartiality of that judge.  Canon 2A and Commentary to Canon 2A.
A judge may serve on the board of directors of a non-profit community organization for the purpose of assisting the organization to implement a program which assists persons previously convicted of crimes to find a job, mental health counseling, and a safe place to live so long as the judge does not: (i) assist the organization in fund raising; (ii) participate in the administration of public funds; nor (iii) contact potential employers to persuade them to employ ex-offenders.  5A & 5C.
Newly elected judge may continue membership in several women's organizations as long as they are gender neutral and the judge does not personally participate in the solicitation of funds or other fundraising activities.   2A-C, 4A, 4D(2), 5A, and 5C(3)(b)(i).
Judge may give a keynote speech at the local council of Girl Scouts’ annual business meeting, the purpose of which meeting is to report on the council’s status and recognize adult volunteers. The judge may also give a keynote speech at the Girl Scouts’ annual award ceremony to congratulate girls who have earned the highest awards and encourage them to be involved in the community. 5A(6), 5B, 5C(3)(b)(i), 5C(3)(b)(ii).
Judge may speak to community groups about the dangers of online predators because the topic concerns the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice.  4B.
Judge who sits on advisory board of directors of a charitable organization may allow the judge’s name and position to be listed on the organization’s letterhead provided that there are comparable listings for the other members of the board.  5C(3)(b) and Commentary.
Judge, who serves in a leadership capacity of a community-based non-profit organization, may publish a letter inviting leaders to begin addressing issues raised in the organization’s study of race relations. 3, 5
Judge may serve on non­profit boards of directors for organizations that serve the needs of the blind, inspire excellence in leadership, and promote women in positions of leadership. 5, 5C(3)
Judge may serve as a trustee of a non-profit philanthropic trust, where judge will not be asked to provide legal services or advice, and the trust is not involved in significant litigation. 5C(3), 6A
Judge may maintain membership in organization which is nonprofit, nonpartisan and devoted to public affairs. 5A(1)(3), 5(C)(3)(b)(iii), 2B, and 2C.
Judge may serve as the president of a non-profit organization which provides cultural events to citizens of the county and benefits the community through various outreach programs. 5C(3)
Judge may serve as officer or director of local Kiwanis Club Foundation. 5C(3).
Judge may not make a taped public service announcement on behalf of local nonprofit groups, even if that announcement does not solicit donations or volunteers, because such an announcement would involve the use of the prestige of judicial office to advance those groups’ interests and tacitly encourage fund-raising and membership. 2B and 5C(3)(b)(iii).
Judge may serve on the executive board of a local Character Counts Coalition. 5C
Judge may serve as president of an advisory committee acting on behalf of a nonprofit organization dedicated to the placement of African-American children with adopting families. 4
Judge may not serve as chairperson of a Junior League’s ways and means committee although the judge’s function as chair would be confined to reviewing and planning fund-raising activities and not direct fund-raising. 4, 5
Judge may serve on the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army. (no canon cited)
Lobbying, Activist and Advocacy Groups
Judge may not maintain a membership in SUNPAC, a political action committee. Judge may attend events hosted by SUNPAC if the event is not a political party function, the judge does not pay a fee to attend, the judge’s attendance could not be construed to be a public endorsement of a candidate, and the judge does not actively engage in any political activity. 2B, 7A, 7D.
Judge may create and allow to be broadcast public service announcements (PSAs) soliciting volunteers to serve as foster parents or adoptive families for children in the dependency system, as long as the judge’s conduct does not appear to a reasonable person to be coercive or cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially as a judge. The judge may use the circuit’s technology department to produce the PSAs, if the use is merely incidental and the request is not coercive. If the circuit’s technology department is not able to produce the PSAs, the judge may not solicit media outlets or a public university to produce the PSAs unless the media outlet or university provides such service to anyone who requests it. The judge or the circuit’s court administrator may not ask media outlets to broadcast the PSAs, but the judge may provide PSAs to the Florida Department of Children and Families to allow the department to ask media outlets to broadcast the PSAs, if the judge’s conduct does not appear to a reasonable person to be coercive or cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially as a judge. 2, 3, 4A(1), 4A(6), 4B, Commentary to 4B, 5B, Commentary to 5B.
Judge may educate friends, family, and other members of the community about dependency court and the guardian ad litem program in an effort to secure additional volunteers for the program, as long as the judge’s conduct does not appear to a reasonable person to be coercive or cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially as a judge. 2, 3, 4A(1), 4A(6), 4B, Commentary to 4B.
Judge may ask local bar associations to hold a special lunch meeting so the judge may solicit attorneys to volunteer as pro bono attorneys ad litem for children in dependency cases, if it would not appear to a reasonable person to be coercive or cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially. The judge may not accept an offer to seek funds for the meeting made by a non-profit organization that supports guardian ad litem volunteers and children for whom they advocate in the judge’s circuit, even if the judge is not involved in the fund-raising. 2B, Commentary to 2, 3A, 3E(1), 4A(1), 4A(5), 4(A)(6), 4B, Commentary to 4B, 4D(2)(a), Commentary to 4D(2).
Judge may, with chief judge’s approval, appear and speak in support of a specific software funding request to the county commission, which provides funding for judicial technology and software in the county where the judge sits. Judge may also speak privately to individual county commissioners regarding the judge’s support of that funding request, if it is not prohibited by any provision of law. 2B, 4A(3), 4A(6), 4B, 4C.
Judge may endorse The Sedona Conference Cooperation Proclamation (a coordinated effort to improve cooperation in the discovery process) by allowing the judge’s name to be listed as an endorser, and by promoting, distributing, and speaking at bar association meetings in support of the proclamation and its principles.  4; 4A(1); 4B; 4D(2)(a); Commentary to 4B.
Judge may become a member of a local gun club in order to use its shooting range, where the gun club requires proof of membership in the National Rifle Association as a condition precedent to membership in the club, so long as the judge does not become personally involved in the NRA’s lobbying or fundraising efforts and does not participate in the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.  Also, the NRA must not frequently lobby on issues likely to come before the judge.  2A; 2B; 3E(1); 4D; 5A; 5C(3)(a); 7.
Judge may not attend and speak at a partisan ladies’ group meeting, even where topic concerns the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice, because judges are ethically precluded from appearing before partisan groups regardless of the subject matter except for a narrow exception in Canon 7 not relevant to this inquiry.  4B; 7; 7A(1)(d); 7B(2); 7C(2), (3).
Judge may participate in panel discussion of underage drinking organized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) as long as the panel is not a fundraiser and the judge is not called upon to support or endorse MADD or any of its legal positions.  Further, a judge’s mere attendance at such an event would also be allowed subject to the same restrictions.  2B; 4A(1); 4(B); 4(D); and Commentary to Canon 4D(1).
Judge may attend Guardian Ad Litem holiday party honoring volunteers because the Code of Judicial Conduct encourages judges to attend functions devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice.  4B and Commentary.
Judge may participate in a court program involving eviction cases in which the judge refers tenants to receive federally funded rent loans. 4A(1),(2),(3); 4D(1)(a)(b),(2)(b),(d); and 5A(1)
General Master sitting in Family Division of Circuit Court may not serve as a member of an advisory committee for a Florida Assertive Community Treatment Team, an advocacy group. 5A(1)
Judge may not participate in a political action committee established to campaign for a sales tax increase to raise revenues for school funding because the committee is a political group created to campaign for a political cause not involving the administration of justice. 5C(3).
Judge may belong to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. However, pursuant to Canon 5C(3)(a), judge should continue to monitor the group to determine if it is proper to continue the affiliation. 5A, 5C(3), 5C(3)(a)
Judge may participate in Partners in Crisis, a group organized to lobby the legislature to increase funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment. 4A, 4B, 4C, 5C(3)(b)(iii) and Commentary to Canon 4B.
Judge may not serve as a member of the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Broward Civil Rights Committee or as a member of the ADL Executive Committee. (no canon cited)
Judge may not be a member of the Adam Walsh Child Resource Center as it would detract from Judge’s function as neutral and detached magistrate. The Center actively seeks child protection legislation. 2A,B; 3C; 5B
Judge may accept chairmanship of Anti-Defamation League’s Florida Regional Board of B’Nai B’rith. 5B(2)
Hospital Boards
Judge may serve on the board of a hospice provided that it is non-profit and the judge does not participate in any fundraising activities.  However, if it reasonably appears that the judge has been invited to the board only to gain the prestige of judicial office for fundraising or membership solicitation, the judge should decline the invitation.  5C(3).
Newly-elected county judge may not continue to serve on hospital ethics committee because membership could give rise to the appearance of impropriety and conflict of interest; committee decisions could result in litigation within the judge’s circuit; and service to the committee would also most likely involve the judge’s being called upon to render legal opinions. 2A, 5A(1), 5C(3)(a) and 5G
Judge may not serve on the Board or Executive Board of a local, not-for-profit hospital. The fact that the judge did not presently hear any cases involving the hospital was not significant. See also Fla. Jud. Ethics Advisory Comm. Ops. 1983-09, 1991-32, 1994-02, 2003-07. 5B
Domestic Violence Councils and Avocational Activities

A judge may attend and be recognized at a reception for Women in Distress, a domestic violence center, when the event is not a fundraiser, the organization is not an advocacy group, and attendance or recognition would not detract from the judge’s role as an impartial magistrate. 2A, 2B, 4B, 4D(2)(b), 5A, 5C(3)(b); commentary to Canon 4(D)(2).

A judge may teach in a training session for judges, magistrates, and court staff on how to deal with domestic violence issues so long as the teaching activities do not cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially. 2A, 4A, & 4B

Chief judge may permit a general magistrate and court administrative staff to attend a training session sponsored by the Salvation Army and the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. 3C(2), 4A, 4B.

A judge may publish a blog reporting Florida Supreme Court and District Court of Appeal decisions as they are released, where the judge intends the entries to be neutral, nonjudgmental, brief summaries of the facts and holdings, and supplies a link to the full opinion of each case. 4A(1), 4B, and 4D(2)(c).

A retired judge who wishes to preside as a senior judge in the future may not be a board member of the Innocence Project of Florida. This is true because the Project’s litigation on behalf of clients may cast doubt on the judge’s impartiality. 2A, 4A, 4D, and Application of The Code of Judicial Conduct.

A judge may publicly identify and explain to the judicial branch the potential consequences of proposed legislation, if enacted into law, or the judge may explain the potential consequences of the proposed constitutional amendments, if approved as amendments to the Florida Constitution.  Judges are permitted, and in certain areas encouraged, to speak, write, lecture, teach, and otherwise participate in extrajudicial activities. 4A, 4B, and Commentary to 4B.

A judge may not chair an educational non-profit organization designed to assist, promote, and support a non-law related public school that is closely aligned with the roles of the public school board and the superintendent. 5C(2), 5C(3), Commentary to Canon 5C(2).

A judge may appear in a television public service announcement on juvenile needs and issues and encourage parents to call a parenting help line sponsored and maintained by 2-1-1 Big Bend, a private nonprofit organization that provides confidential counseling and referrals, as long as the content of the judge’s comment is not otherwise prohibited by the Code.  2A, 3B(9), 3B(10); 4B, 5A(1), 5B.

A judge may create and privately maintain a website designed primarily to focus high school students on college or trade school preparation. Nothing in the Code suggests that a judge’s maintenance of a website gives the appearance of impropriety, as long as the website complies with all provisions of the Code.  2A, 3B(9), 5A(1), 7, and 7C(1).

Judge may not become a member of a newly created committee of a nonprofit organization named Women in Distress because the judge would be lending the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of others and the membership would cast doubt on the judge’s ability to act impartially.
Newly elected judge may not continue to serve on a domestic violence task force where the force is chaired by the director of the local domestic violence shelter because such service would detract from the judge’s duty of impartiality.  No canons cited.
Judge may not write a letter to a grant provider encouraging the funding of a local non-profit organization that provides domestic violence victims with criminal and civil advocates because such a letter could cast doubt on the judge’s ability to act impartially.
Judge may be a member of a domestic violence council where there are members on the council who operate for-profit batterers’ intervention programs. 4B, 5A(1), 5B(1)(a), Civic and Charitable Activities, now renumbered as 5C(3)(a)(i) & (ii), and Commentary
Judge may not ethically belong to a victim’s rights counsel, which among other things, sponsors (unofficial) training for judges; reviews judicial rulings and decisions relating to sentences, referrals to batterers’ intervention programs, the ordering of child support, etc.; and supports bills and legislation. Membership in such an organization would cast a reasonable doubt as to the judge’s capacity to act impartially.2A, 3, 4, 4A, 5B
Judge cannot serve on the Domestic Violence Clemency Panel. 2A, 4A, 5C
Judge who handles all battery cases that arise in a large part of the judge’s county should not serve on a Domestic Violence Task Force created by the governor and chaired by the Executive Director of a local domestic violence shelter. 2A, 5B
Judge may serve on the Governor’s Task Force on Domestic Violence as long as the activities are law related and gender neutral. 5B
Judge may not belong to Women in Distress, a non-profit, quasi-governmental organization, which provides shelter, food, clothing, and counseling, to battered women and their children. The organization also provides court-ordered group and individual counseling to defendants convicted of spouse abuse and attempts to educate the community on domestic violence. The judge’s involvement would detract from the judge’s role as an impartial magistrate. 3C; 5B; 2A,B
Legal Aid

Judge who was formerly a staff attorney for a legal services organization may not submit a congratulatory message for inclusion in an advertisement for that organization’s commemorative event because the judge’s participation could be viewed as an endorsement.  2B; 4D(1)(a), (b).

Appellate court judge may allow his or her clerk to sit on the Board of Directors of Florida Legal Services so long as Florida Legal Services does not engage directly in litigation or represent impoverished people. 3C(2), 4D and 4D(2).
Generally, judge may not serve as an officer or director of any legal aid organization because of the possible appearance of partiality, possible advocacy by the organization, and possible fund-raising activities by the organization. 4D, 5, 5B(1), and 5C(3).
Judge may not serve as a member of the board of directors of an “organization which was established some years ago” sponsored by the county bar association to represent the poor when the attorneys appear before the Judge and other judges in the circuit. 2B
Judge may not be a member on the board of directors of a Legal Aid Society. 5
Mental Health and Other Boards that May Pose Conflict
A judge’s service on the board of directors of the “Step Program” conflicted with Canon 5B(2). The purpose of the Step Program is to assist in the rehabilitation of felony offenders. The program’s entire funding source would be an additional dollar imposed by judges in the sentencing of felons. 4C, 5B
Judge who recently transferred to the felony division should discontinue his/her service on the board of directors for the Mental Health Center, Inc., a non-profit corporation providing service to the chronically mentally ill in the judge’s county until the judge is transferred to the civil division. 5B
Judge must decide whether the Haven, a non-profit organization that would provide shelter for abused or abandoned children under the age of six would ordinarily come before him in assessing whether to serve on the Haven’s Board of Directors. 5B(1), (2)
Canon 5B(l) proscribes services by a judge as an officer or director of a county mental health center. See also Fla. Jud. Ethics Advisory Comm. Ops. 1974-12, 1975-02, 1975-05. 5
Homeowners’ Associations
Notwithstanding that a senior judge never presided over civil cases, he or she could not serve on the board of a homeowners’ association because association was likely to be engaged in litigation before court of which senior judge was a member. 2, 5 and 7.
Judge may not serve on the board of directors of a condominium association because it is likely the board would be regularly engaged in proceedings that would ordinarily come before the judge or would be regularly engaged in the adversary proceedings before a court. See also Fla. Jud. Ethics Advisory Comm. Ops. 1981-07 & 2004-10. 5B
For-Profit Boards and Business Activities

A judge may not own an interest in a closely held business with another person who is not a member of the judge’s family, work for, and be compensated by that business.  Further, a judge may not be employed by a business that is owned in part by his or her spouse with another person who is not a member of the judge’s family. 5D(3).

An inquiring judge may not assist a for-profit company secure potential investors on a commission basis because a judge may not serves as an officer, director, manager, general partner, advisor, or employee of any for-profit business entity, with some limited exceptions none of which apply to this inquiry. 5C(3) and 5D(3).

Judge may not appear in a video discussing a technological development pioneered by the judge’s circuit, which is intended to be shown by the provider of the technology at a large technology conference and placed on that company’s website. Judge’s participation in the video praising the system would at the least be an indirect endorsement of the product and would result in lending the prestige of the judicial office to advance the private commercial interests of the company. 2, 2B, 4, 4B, Commentary to 4B.

Judge may host a weekend radio program playing classic songs for a commercial radio station, as long as the judge ensures that the hosting duties do not demean the judicial office, is not an employee of the radio station, and does not personally participate in advertising promotions. 2B, 5A, 5B, 5D(3), 6A.

Judge may serve as an officer or director of a closely held family corporation, and also receive compensation for the corporation based upon a percentage of the value of property to be sold.  5D(2) and 5D(3).

Judge may not serve as advisory board member, with or without compensation, for an internet company that would provide free information regarding divorce because a judge is generally prohibited from serving as an advisor or employee of any business entity.   This prohibition applies even if the judge’s affiliation is kept private.  However, the judge may write an informative article about the divorce process for posting on the company’s website provided that the article does not endorse any products, services, persons or materials.  The judge may also receive compensation for this article.  2A; 2B; 4; 4A; 4B; 4D; 5A; 5B; 5C; 5D.

Judge may participate in panel as part of a continuing legal education seminar, even if the sponsoring organization is for-profit, as long as the judge’s participation is educational in nature and the judge does not endorse any products or materials.   The judge may also receive an honorarium and appear in advertising for the seminar so long as the advertising is dignified and does not imply that the judge endorses any products or services.  2B; 4A(3); 4B; 4D(2)(a), (d); 5A(3); 5C(3)(b); 6A; and 6B.

Judge may not permit owner of documentary film about a reading instruction program to use an interview of the judge in the film where the film will be commercially marketed in support of the reading program.  Even though the judge did not explicitly endorse the program in the interview, the judge’s appearance would constitute a tacit endorsement of the reading program and hence lend the prestige of the judge’s office to a private interest in violation of Canon 2B.  2B.

While senior judge subject to recall may serve as a freelance reporter on sports and human interest issues for newspaper, judge may not be employed by the newspaper.  Also, the judge may not take any ownership interest in the newspaper that would require the judge to participate in the management or operation of the newspaper.  5A;5D(3).
Judge may not serve on the Honorary Advisory Board of Directors of a beach resort association. (no canon cited)
Law Enforcement and Fire
A judge may not assume a position of officer of an organization whose stated purpose is to benefit the families of law enforcement officers and firefighters.  Assuming the position of officer, with the view that the judge would move up the ranks to the position of presidency of that organization, would raise the appearance of impropriety that could cast doubt on the impartiality of that judge.  Canon 2A and Commentary to Canon 2A.
Judge may not join the Florida Highway Patrol Auxiliary, even in a purely administrative role served outside of the judge’s circuit, because it would cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s impartiality and interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties.  4A; 5A; and Commentary to Canon 5C(2).
Newly elected judge may not continue to serve on a sexual assault response team operated by the sheriff’s office because such participation could cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s impartiality.  5C(2).
Newly elected judge may not continue to serve on the mounted unit of the sheriff’s department, which is dedicated to searching for lost individuals and evidence accessible by horseback but not vehicle or foot, because such service would create an appearance of partiality.  The service would involve prolonged, familiar contact with the sheriff’s office, and the judge could be assigned to criminal matters.  Also, it would not be practical to try and separate the collection of evidence from the search for persons and thus limit participation to non-law enforcement activities.  2;5.
Civil Traffic Infraction Hearing Officer could not attend a local police department’s Citizens Police Academy because the academy would meet two times a week for a six-week period, and this prolonged, familiar contact with the local police department could cast doubt on the hearing officer's impartiality, interfere with his or her duties, and detract from the dignity of his or her office. 2A and Commentary, 4A, and 5A.
Judge may not serve on a county fire board that functions to set policy and procedures for the county fire department. 4D, 4D(1), 5C(2)
Judgeshould not serve on the Board of Directors of the Police Officers’ Assistant Trust, Inc. (no canon cited)
Judge may not sit as an advisory member to panel to deal with city’s police sergeant promotion process. A judge should not accept appoint to a governmental committee, commission, or other position that is concerned with issue of fact or policy on matters other than the improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice. 5G
Judge may not join a county association of police chiefs, a non-profit corporation with membership consisting of police chiefs and other high ranking officials from all levels of government. The association’s goals are to promote an efficient policy system, assist in facilitating the administration of justice, suppress crime, and advocate the reform of laws for public safety, protection, and welfare. Such membership would reflect adversely upon the judge’s impartiality and is prohibited by Canon 5B. 5B
Specific Social, Fraternal, Sororal or Religious Groups
Judge may attend an annual God and Country Day organized by a local church, which focuses on the laws of the state and country and its foundation in Judeo-Christian values. The judge may pose for a photograph with the pastor and other elected officials, knowing that it would be published in a local newspaper, unless the judge is aware or has reason to believe that the pastor intends to use the photograph to advance the private interests of the church through solicitation of members or donations. 2B, 5A.
Judge may sit on a synagogue committee that determines whether members qualify for a reduction in membership dues.  The committee does not involve solicitation, nor is the synagogue likely to come before the judge or the court of which the judge is a member.  5; 5C(3); Commentary to 5A and 5C(3)(b).
Judge may be a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. 2C
Judge may be a member in two social clubs an exclusive men’s club and an Italian American social club. 5B
Judge may be a member of B’nai B’rith. 5B