December 30, 1991
(OPINION NO : 91-32
( CANON 5
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
RE: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges- Your
inquiry dated November 5, 1991.
You ask whether, under the Code of Judicial Conduct, you may serve as a member of the Board of directors of Cedars of Lebanon Hospital.
A majority of the committee members unanimously agreed such membership and service would violate Canon 5 (B) since hospitals frequently are parties in court proceedings. The members placed little, if any, significance to the fact the hospital had not often appeared before you as a party, since that could change at any time. It was further felt your presence on the board would reflect adversely upon your impartiality and would interfere with the performance of your judicial duties when you are required to disqualify yourself . Please also see our opinion 83-9, which corroborates our position herein, and also implies there is little to distinguish a hospital director from a corporation or business director, positions which judges clearly cannot hold under Canon 5(C) (2).
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).
With regards, I remain,
Yours very truly,
/Jere Tolton, Chairman
Committee on Standards of
Conduct Governing Judges
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