August 3, 1989

Opinion No. 89/14
Canons 4, 5

Serving as a member or chairman of a body seeking to improve existing efforts to control drugs and crime

Dear Judge

In your inquiry you have asked whether you are barred by the Code of Judicial Conduct from serving as the chairman of a task force or committee, composed of business and civic leaders, intended to enhance community effort to fight drugs and crime. You have stated that the committee will not be responsible for the raising of funds, the initiation of legislation, the enforcement of law or the prosecution of crimes.

It appears that the committee's purpose will be confined to the evaluation of resources and programs, both governmental and private, in the hope of expanding their efficacy. It further appears that to the extent the prestige of your office may be associated with the committee's activities and purposes, no private interest would be advanced by your presence as chairman of the committee.

Finally, you have advised us that the chairman's duties would not interfere with your official duties and court business.

Based upon the foregoing, a majority of the committee concurs in your ability to accept the chairmanship of the committee.

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 Green, Tolton, Booth, Dell, Doughtie,Frank, Simons, Shutter, Goldstein, and Clarke, Esquire.

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
Mr. Richard Kuhn, Court Administrator, Lee County
Hon. Thomas H . Barkdull , Jr ., Third District Court of Appeal
Ms. Georgeanne Marsh, Center for Professional Responsibility, American Bar Association