November 10, 1988


Opinion 88/21

Canon 3

Re: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Your inquiry dated July 27, 1998

Dear Judge

You have asked whether recusal is necessary in those instances involving a law firm which may years ago had been employed by the Division of Risk Management to defend you in a then pending action.

The Committee has concluded that in light of the elapsed time since the filing of the lawsuit, the non-personal employment of the defending law firm and your passive involvement in the events associated with that action, recusal is unncessary (sic). Indeed, the attenuated relationship between you and the law firm does not require that there be disclosure of the now ancient litigation.

The committee is expressly charged with rendering advisory opinions interpreting the application of the Code of Judicial Conduct to specific circumstances confronting or affecting a judge or judicial candidate. Its opinions are advisory to the inquiring party, to the Judicial Qualifications Commission and to the judiciary at large. Conduct that is consistent with an advisory opinion issued by the committee may be evidence of good faith on the part of the judge, but the Judicial Qualifications Commission is not bound by the interpretive opinions issued by the committee. Petition of the Committee on Standards of Conduct for Judges 327 So2d 5 (Fla. 1976).

Cordially yours,

Richard H. Frank, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges

cc: All Committee Members

Participating Members: Judges Booth, Dell, Frank, Goldstein, Green, Levy, Shutter, Tolton and Attorney Page

All reference to the inquiring judge is deleted from the copies sent to the following individuals.

Mr. Sid White, Clerk of the Supreme Court of Florida
Linda Yates, Managing Editor, The Florida Bar Journal
Brooke S. Kennerly, Executive Director, Judicial Qualifications Commission.
Hon. Walter K. Stapleton, Chairman, Ethics Advisory Panel of the Judicial Conference of the United States .
Jeffrey M. Shaman, Esquire, Director, Center for Judicial Conduct Organizations
Ms. Jean Underhill, Librarian, Broward County Law Library
Mr. Robert Wallace, Librarian, Dade County Law Library
Mr. Brian Polley, Librarian, Supreme Court of Florida