Receded from in Opinion 99-13

Opinion 79-2

February 1, 1979

Dear Judge:

The Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges acknowledges your recent inquiry wherein you ask an opinion of the Committee relative to the following matter:

You advise that you have retained a Santa Rosa County law firm to represent you in a matter pending in Federal Court. Your query is whether you must disqualify yourself in all matters brought before the Circuit Court wherein a member of the firm (which you have retained) is an attorney of record. You also inquire as to the propriety of your determining the amount of attorney's fees to be awarded to any member of the firm in connection with a litigation if the Canons do not require that you disqualify yourself.

A majority of the responding members of the Committee are of the view that it is not necessary that a Judge voluntarily recuse himself in either contested or uncontested matters wherein any member of the firm is attorney of record, but that he should acquaint himself with the relevant facts and offer to recuse himself upon request. The majority also feels that after full disclosure and upon consent of all attorneys of record that there is no impropriety in fixing attorney's fees.

Two responding members of the Committee do feel, however, that you should follow paragraph (D) of Canon 3 on remittal of disqualification and make sure that the attorneys and parties involved in the matter state on the record their agreement that the judge is not required to disqualify himself and execute an agreement to that effect.

We trust that the above opinion will be of assistance to you.

Sincerely yours,

Tyrie A. Boyer, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges


Participating members: Judges Boyer, Carlisle, Hewitt, Richardson, Stephenson, Turner and Samuel J. Powers, Attorney