March 3, 1994
(Service as Chairman of Board of
(Governors of Medical Center
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
RE: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Your inquiry dated January 26, 1994
You have requested an opinion from our Committee concerning service as the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the University Medical Center which is a local hospital. Your service would be voluntary and without compensation All of the members of our Committee who have responded would either find that your participation on this Board would either be prohibited or should strongly be discouraged. We note that hospitals are frequent litigants in courts involving hundreds of small claims actions as well as major malpractice cases. Some members of our Committee felt that your service could marginally be permitted (assuming that the hospital is a not for-profit corporation) as long as your judicial assignment did not result in frequent recusals due to conflict. The majority of the Board, however, felt that due to the frequency of litigation involving hospitals, your role could involve you directly in litigation and, thus, you should not participate on the board of governors of a hospital.
Three prior Committee opinions (83-09, 91-25, 91-32) have recommended that judges not serve on hospital boards.
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 So.2d 5 (Fla.1976).
Yours very truly,
Nath C. Doughtie, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
cc: All Committee Members
Office of the Courts Administrator (name of judge deleted from this copy)
Participating members: Judges Doughtie, Farina , Goldstein, Green, Patterson , Rushing, Taylor, Tolton, and Edwards, Esq.