June 28, 1993

Opinion 93-40
(Canon 5B - Civic Activities - Member of Mental Health Center Board of Directors

Re: Committee on Standard of Conduct Governing Judges. Your inquiry dated April 28, 1993


You state you are a member of the board of directors of ________ Mental Health Center, Inc., a non-profit corporation providing service to the chronically mentally ill in your county. These services include case management, medical supervision, psychological counseling, residential and out-patient treatment.

You have recently been assigned to the felony division of the Circuit Court and you find that frequently it has been necessary for you to order defendants to comply with counseling and/or monitoring of medication at the mental health center as a condition of prohibition [sic] or control release.

You ask if the Committee sees and conflict that would necessitate your resignation from the mental health center board of directors.

All eight participating committee members believe the better course of conduct would be for you to discontinue your service on the board of directors until such time as you are transferred to a civil division.

Because you frequently order defendants to comply with the instructions of this mental health center as a condition of probation the majority of the committee believes your membership on the mental health center's board of directors may reflect adversely upon your impartiality.

However, you are not prohibited from serving on the board provided you disqualify yourself in every case where your impartiality may reasonably be questioned.

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).

Sincerely yours,

Harvey Goldstein, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges


cc: All Committee Members
Office of State Court Administrator (name of Judge deleted from this copy)

Participating members: Judges Doughtie ,Green, Farina, Goldstein, Kahn, Patterson, Rushing and Tolton.