June 28, 1993
(Canon 3C - Disqualification - Spouse's Employment as Secretary of Local Law Enforcement Agency
Re: Committee on Standard of Conduct Governing Judges. Your inquiry dated April 30, 1993
You state your spouse is employed as a secretary for a local law enforcement agency. The employment duties are strictly secretarial and range from telephone receptionist to typing reports and warrants.
You ask whether:
(A) There is any appearance of impropriety or violation of and Canon under the above circumstances?
(B) You must disclose your spouse's employment on every criminal case filed by other law enforcement agencies?
All eight participating committee members believe the proper response to your question is no.
You should follow the holding in Pool Water Products, Inc. v. Pools by L.S.Rule , 18 FLW D424 (4 DCA, 27 Jan 1993), to-wit: "make a conscientious assessment of matters which are known to the judge which might be interpreted as affecting the judge's impartiality. The judge should disclose matters which he or she believes might reasonably impair his or her conscience and determining that the matter will not have an effect, disclosure is not required."
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).
Yours very truly,
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.