May 20, 1993

Opinion 93-31
Canon 3B(3)
Judge's testimony in criminal trial

Dear Judge

You have asked whether you may ethically appear in court pursuant to a subpoena to testify in a misdemeanor case in which the defendant is being charged with unauthorized practice of law. You state you have been asked by the state attorney's office to testify about actions you took as administrative judge and to explain to the jury the problems caused for the judicial system and parties by certain documents drafted and filed by the defendant.

All of the eight participating committee members agree that you should testify if properly served with a subpoena. You will not be appearing as a character witness or as an expert witness for a fee. The committee does not believe your proposed testimony has an appearance of impropriety.

The Committee appreciates your inquiry and hopes this response will be of some assistance.

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,

Harvey Goldstein, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges

JT/mc

cc: All Committee Members

Participating members: Judges Tolton, Green, Levy, Booth, Dell, Goldstein, Farina, Rushing and Clarke, Esq.

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