September 11, 1981
This is in response to your inquiry of April 2nd, 1981, wherein you request the advice of the Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges as to the propriety of a judge being president of a village association and serving on the board of directors of a townhouse association. It was the unanimous opinion of the 6 members responding to your inquiry that a judge should not serve in either of these capacities.
In our Opinion number 77-9 we held the wife of a judge may be a director of a condominium association, but seemed to indicate that this was only because the wife has, by amendment to the Canons in 1976, been exempted from restrictions applicable to members of the judiciary. Canon 5B permits a judge to participate in civic activities that do not reflect adversely upon his impartiality or interfere with the performance of his judicial duties. Sub-paragraph 1 of paragraph B, however, says that a judge should not serve if it is likely that an organization will be engaged in proceedings that would ordinary come before him or would be regularly engaged in adversary proceedings before any court. As one member put it, "With the volume of condominium litigation and the many adverse interests in that type of an association that have to be represented by the Board, it is my opinion that (the judge) should resign form these two positions in order to comply with Canon 5."
James T. Carlisle, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
cc: All Committee Members
Sid White, Clerk of the Supreme Court
Mr. William C. Clark, Chairman, Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission
Mrs. Linda H. Yates, Managing Editor, Florida Bar Journal
Hon Howard T. Markey, Chairman, Ethics Advisory Panel Judicial Conference of the U.S.
All references to the inquiring judge deleted
Participating members: Judges Booth, Carlisle, Hewitt, Letts, Nesbitt and Samuel Powers, Attorney.