March 20, 1990

Opinion 90/7
Canons 2, 7
Spouse as candidate

Dear Judge

I am confirming our telephone discussion had some weeks ago concerning the following questions you have submitted for an advisory opinion:

1) May my husband, who is a candidate for local city councilman in a nonpartisan election use a family picture in his campaign literature? The photograph and text would not identify me as a judge, only as "wife,..., city resident for 25 years."

2) May he mention that he is married to ... a long time resident, in speeches, if I am not identified as a judge?

3) What explanation, if any, would he be permitted to give as a reason for my nonappearance with him at any campaign functions?

The Committee unanimously agrees that your husband-candidate may identify you as his wife but under no circumstance is he to refer to you as a judge or otherwise suggest or indicate your status as a member of the judiciary.

One member of the Committee has suggested that your husband may explain your absence through reference to the Code of Judicial Conduct. The Committee, however, does not endorse that view and cautions against it; it would reveal your status thus indirectly achieving that which cannot be done directly.

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, Goldstein, Dell, Booth, Doughtie,Frank, Simons, Shutter 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
Judson Orrick, 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 .
Deborah Solomon, American Judicature Society
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
Lynda Glyman, Center for Professional Responsibility, American Bar Association