September 15, 1995
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
Judge's testimony in bar grievance
In re: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Your Inquiry Dated July 14, 1995
You inquire whether you are obligated to provide testimony in a bar grievance proceeding that is somehow connected to a motion to recuse made in a case before you. The motion to recuse was denied because it was legally insufficient. Your order denying the motion to recuse is currently on appeal. It is unclear how the two proceedings are related.
You have been contacted by counsel for the attorneys who are the subject of the bar grievance and have been informed that you may be contacted by the grievance committee. You told the attorney that you do not intent (sic) to speak to either side until the appellate case has been concluded.
You feel you are precluded from speaking on the matter because the rule governing disqualification, Rule 2.160, Fla. R. Jud. Admin., prohibits passing on the truth of the allegations contained in an initial motion for disqualification. Therefore, if you discuss the matter, you fear you will be subject to another motion for disqualification.
While it is unclear as to what your testimony would be, the nine responding members of the Committee find that Canon 2B prohibits you from testifying voluntarily. A majority of the responding members feel you could testify if properly summoned.
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 judges, but the Judicial Qualifications Commission is not bound by the interpretive opinions by the Committee. Petition of the Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges, 327 So.2d 5 (Fla. 1976).
Very Truly Yours,
Oliver L. Green, Jr., Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct
CC: All Committee Members
Office of the State Courts Administrator
(Name of judge deleted from this copy)
Participating Members:Judges Cardonne, Dell, Doughtie, Green, Kahn, Patterson, Rushing Silverman and Tolton