Receded from in Opinion 00-34

Opinion 75-7
April 10, 1975

Re: Canon 5(C)1

Re: Standards of Judicial Conduct

Dear Judge

In your letter of February 28,1975, you state that on or about August of 1973, you resigned from your then law firm to accept an appointment as County Judge, County, and that thereafter became a Circuit Judge. You further state that pursuant to an agreement of August 20, 1973, you sold your interest in your law firm to the remaining partners.

You inquire as to the propriety of participating in proceedings involving members of your former firm.

We find no impropriety per se in your former associates practicing before you, and this part of your question was answered in our opinion published on Page 84, Volume 49, #2 of the February, 1975, edition, Florida Bar Journal.

You further state that while you were a member of the firm, it purchased an office building where the firm practiced, as well as the parking lot, and that you, being one of the five members of the firm, acquired a 20% interest and you continue to retain the 20% interest and that this property is leased to your former law firm.

In this connection, your attention is invited to Canon 5(C)1, "a Judge should refrain from financial and business dealings that tend to . . .involve him in frequent transactions with lawyers and persons likely to come before the Court on which he serves."

The notes prepared by Mr. Wayne Thode, Reporter of the American Bar Association Committee which prepared the Code of Judicial Conduct, contains the following statement:

"A Judge should refrain from financial and business dealings that would involve him in frequent transactions with lawyers or persons likely to appear in his court. And he should refrain from financial and business dealings that tend to reflect adversely on his impartiality or that might interfere with the proper performance of his duties."

See Florida Bar Journal, February, 1975, Volume 42, #2, wherein this Committee recommended to a judge that he not involve himself in financial and business dealings with attorneys who practiced before him.

The Supreme Court opinion, adopting the Code of Judicial Conduct, provided that a judge would have until September 30, 1975, to bring himself in strict compliance with Canon 5.

We trust the above gives you the specific advice requested in your letter of February 28.

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

GS:jss

cc: Committee members