February 17, 1994
Personal and Confidential
Canon 5C(4)- Accepting Christmas gifts
Re: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Your inquiry dated December 30 1993
You have asked our Committee to give an opinion concerning the ethical propriety of receiving Christmas gifts from tenants of some business property that you own. All of our Committee members concur that there is no problem receiving the gifts which you describe. I am sure you are familiar with Canon 5C(4) which discusses certain specific limitations and requirements for judges receiving gifts. We have assumed that the donor in your case is not a party or other person whose interests have recently come or may likely come before you. Since the donor is a tenant in a business you own, you would not be presiding over that person's case in any event.
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).
Very truly yours,
Nath C. Doughtie, 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 Dell, Doughtie, Farina, Goldstein, Green, Kahn, Patterson, Rushing, Taylor, Tolton and Edwards, Esq.