Opinion withdrawn by 95-12

November 26 , 1991
Opinion number 91-23
Canon: 5(B)(2)

Re: Fund raising by a JA

RE: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges- Your inquiry dated October 11, 1991.

Dear Judge

You inquire whether your judicial assistant is subject to the Code of Judicial Conduct, and if so, whether your judicial assistant may engage in fund raising activities.

Eight members of the ten member committee responded affirmatively to the first question, and negatively to the second . Those members are of the opinion the activity contemplated is proscribed by Canon 5 (B) (2), which mandates a judge not to permit others, whether court personnel or not, to use the prestige of the office for fund raising. These members contend the JA position is nothing more than an arm of the Court, and carries with it all the prestige of that office. However, all eight members agreed if contributions were solicited by the JA for some purpose completely unconnected with the office, and personal to the JA, such as assisting his or her child sell Girl Scout cookies in the neighborhood, such activity is permitted.

A ninth member of the committee generally agreed with the other committee members, except he felt a JA has an individual capacity, whereas a judge does not.

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 So.2d 5 (Fla. 1976).

With regards, I remain,

Yours very truly,

Jere Tolton, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges

JT /mc

cc: All Committee Members

Participating Members: Judges Tolton , Green , Booth , Dell , Doughtie, Goldstein, Farina, Rushing, and Clarke, Esq.

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
Brooke S. Kennerly, Executive Director, Judicial Qualifications Commission.
Hon. Walter K. Stapleton, Chairman, Ethics Advisory panel of the Judicial Conference of the United states .
Cynthia Grey, Director, American Judicature Society
Ms. Jean Underhill, Librarian, Broward County Law Library
Mr. Robert Wallace, Librarian, Dade County Law Library
Ms. Joan D. Cannon, Librarian, supreme Court of Florida
William D. Wilkinson, Court Administrator, Lee County
Hon. . Thomas H . Barkdull , Jr ., Third District Court of Appeal
Lynda Glyman, Esq. Center for Professional Responsibility, American Bar Association
Hon. Charles McClure, Chief Judge, Second Judicial circuit
Office of state Court Administrator, Legal Affairs & Education
Reconsideration Request of Opinion 91-23
May 12, 1992

PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL

RE: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges - Your reconsideration request dated March, 4, 1992

You ask whether the committee will reconsider our Opinion 91-23 regarding fund raising activities by judicial assistants.

The committee, by a vote of 7 - 3, agreed not to recede from its Opinion 91-23 and declined reconsideration of same. The three dissenting committee members felt the Code of Judicial Conduct does not specifically address conduct of judicial assistants and therefore the committee has no jurisdiction to respond to the inquiry.

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 So.2d 5 (Fla. 1976).
With regards, I remain,

Yours very truly,

Jere Tolton, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges

JT /mc

cc: All Committee Members

Participating Members: Judges Tolton , Green , Booth , Dell , Doughtie, Goldstein, Farina, Rushing, and Clarke, Esq.

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
Brooke S. Kennerly, Executive Director, Judicial Qualifications Commission.
Hon. Walter K. Stapleton, Chairman, Ethics Advisory panel of the Judicial Conference of the United states .
Cynthia Grey, Director, American Judicature Society
Ms. Jean Underhill, Librarian, Broward County Law Library
Mr. Robert Wallace, Librarian, Dade County Law Library
Ms. Joan D. Cannon, Librarian, supreme Court of Florida
William D. Wilkinson, Court Administrator, Lee County
Hon. . Thomas H . Barkdull , Jr ., Third District Court of Appeal
Lynda Glyman, Esq. Center for Professional Responsibility, American Bar Association
Hon. Charles McClure, Chief Judge, Second Judicial circuit
Office of state Court Administrator, Legal Affairs & Education