Opinions of the Judicial Ethics
Advisory Committee



Testimony



Canons
Fla. Code Jud. Conduct, Canon 2B A judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others.  Also, a judge shall not testify voluntarily as a character witness. “Although Canon 2B specifically deals with a judge acting as a character witness . . . Committee opinions have construed Canon 2B as requiring any testimony of a judge be pursuant to a subpoena, even if the proposed testimony is factual versus opinion.”  JEAC Op. 1999-04.
Opinions
JEAC Opinion Number
Subject
Part-time civil traffic infraction hearing officer, unlike an Article V judge, may testify as an expert witness in a non-traffic proceeding. 2A, 2B, Commentary to 2B, Application section A.
Judge-elect may testify as an expert on attorney’s fees at an evidentiary hearing that had started while the judge-elect was a candidate, but which had been continued, to complete the cross-examination of the judge-elect, to a date that happened to be after the judge-elect’s successful campaign. 2A, 2B, Commentary to 2B.
Prohibition against a judge advancing the private interests of others bars a senior judge periodically presiding over contested termination of parental rights cases from testifying as an expert witness regarding a retired judge’s request for receiver’s fees. 2, Commentary to 2B.
2004-37
Recedes from JEAC Opinion 95-35
Judge-elect retained as expert witness prior to assuming judgeship may not give deposition, even if taken prior to assuming the bench. 2, Commentary to 2B.
Judge may not prepare an affidavit of good character, pursuant to a subpoena duces tecum without deposition, on behalf of a lawyer pending disciplinary action with the Florida Bar. 2B, 3D

Judge who recused himself or herself from criminal matter could respond to parole board’s request for information and recommendations concerning defendant involved in that matter. 3E(1), Commentary to Canon 2C.

Judge may communicate with a guardian ad litem outside the judge’s judicial circuit regarding specific facts in a post-dissolution of marriage action of a close personal friend, but may not discuss any character issues. 2
Even where judge’s appearance in videotape to be used in personal injury matter would be completely unrelated to the judicial office and would make no reference to the judge’s position, the appearance is barred by the prohibition against using the prestige of office to advance the private interests of another. 2B
2003-04
Overrules JEAC Opinion 98-15; Recedes from JEAC Opinion 2000-07
Judge may review documents and be interviewed by attorney regarding factual matters before the judge is subpoenaed as a fact witness to give a deposition or court testimony. 2B
Judge who is member of Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee may appear, pursuant to a subpoena, at a bar prosecution to provide expert testimony relating to the Code of Judicial Conduct and judicial campaigns. Preamble, 2B, and 7.
2000-07
receded from in Op. 03-04
Judge may not voluntarily give a statement to a police supervisor investigating whether another office lied under oath before the judge because judges are barred from giving character testimony without being properly summoned. 2, 2B. (overruled by Op. 03-04 )
“although Canon 2B specifically deals with a judge acting as a character witness committee opinions have construed Canon 2B as requiring any testimony of a judge be pursuant to a subpoena, even if the proposed testimony is factual versus opinion.”. 2B
Judge may provide factual testimony in a disciplinary proceeding conducted by the California Bar regarding the unauthorized practice of law as long as the testimony is pursuant to subpoena. 2B
Judge may not testify in a bar grievance proceeding somehow connected to a motion for recusal made before the judge, unless the judge was properly subpoenaed. 2B
Judge may testify for the State in a misdemeanor case since the judge was subpoenaed. 3B(3)
Absent a subpoena, a judge may not testify regarding the history and purpose of a statute that he had drafted as the general counsel for a state administrative agency. (No canon cited)