Opinion 74-5
May 3, 1974

Re: Canon 5

Dear Judge

The procedure, as outlined in your letter of April 19, 1974, for the purchase of a small tract of acreage north of Tampa, could furnish reasonable grounds for criticism.

That is, a judge would be buying a law suit which must be litigated in the circuit he serves. Further, he is having the suit brought in the name of a person who has no interest in the litigation and further, the judge is having financial and business dealings with an attorney who practices before him

It appears that Canon 5 C(l) is applicable. It seems that an isolated transaction between a judge and a lawyer would not be improper. Nonetheless, it is the suggestion of a lack of impartiality and impropriety and the effect that such an appearance has on the confidence of the public in the judiciary that suggests a restrictive course of conduct.

It is the consensus of the Committee that you should reject the offer to purchase under the terms and conditions as outlined in your letter.

/s/GUNTER STEPHENSON, as Chairman
Committee on Standards of Judicial
Conduct

GS:ej