Opinion 76-21

November 18, 1976

Re: Canon 5B

Dear Judge:

This is in response to your recent inquiry requesting an opinion from the Committee on the following questions:

1. I am currently Chairman of the District Human Right Advocacy Committee, Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services of the State of Florida. This is a committee created under F.S. §20.19(7). A prime area of responsibility of the Human Rights Advocacy Committee is investigation citizen complaints. In the past we have been involved with complaints involving detention centers, the facilities falling under the Youth Services program. It is my understanding as County Court Judge, that one of the duties of this office is holding detention hearings, and that the agents of the Youth Services program office make recommendations to the court at that time. May I continue serving on the Human Rights Advocacy Committee, or would it be appropriate for me to tender my resignation to the committee prior to take (sic) office?

2. At the present time I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Family Service Bureau of ______ County, Inc., the delegate to the Florida Council of Family Service Agencies, a delegate from the Family Service Bureau to the Southeastern Region, Family Service Association of America, and a member of the national board of the Family Service Association of America, as well as committee member of various committees at all levels. The local agency is an eleemosynary corporation not for profit, which is funded primarily through the United Way, but which also receives State of Florida mental health grant and aid, and National Institute of Mental Health staffing grant funds. Locally this organization is an affiliate of the District Mental Health Board XII., and the Comprehensive Communities Mental Health Centers. The District Mental Health Board XII Comprehensive Communities Mental Health Centers, receive some county funding through the County Department of Health and Social Services, which are allocated by the Board of County Commissioners. May I continue serving on these various boards and committees of these agencies, or would it be appropriate for me to tender my resignation prior to taking office?

3. In the past I have taught Criminal Justice at Community College. I was asked to consider teaching one evening course this fall or spring of comparative criminal justice at the graduate level.

a. May I accept a part-time teaching position for pay at the county level.

b. If I receive income from the teaching position, may I keep the same or would it be proper for me to deposit the monies with either the county or the state?

The Committee has reviewed your inquiry and is pleased to advise you as follows:

In regard to Question No. 1, a majority of the Committee (8-1) is of the opinion that continued service on the committee is the capacity described would appear to conflict with the provisions of Canon 5B(1), Code of Judicial Conduct, which while recognizing and encouraging a judge's participation in civic and charitable activities states, in part:

(1) A judge should not serve if it is likely that the organization will be engaged in proceedings that would ordinarily come before him or will be regularly engaged in adversary proceedings in any court

Moreover, from the nature of the powers, duties and functions of the committee, as set forth in your inquiry and as specifically set our in section 20.19(7), F.S., it would appear that continued service would directly conflict with Canon 5G (see Ethics Opinion 75-32, December 17, 1975).

In regard to Question No. 2, a majority of the Committee (5-4) is of the opinion that continued service as a member of the Board of Directors of the Family Service Bureau, as described in your inquiry, would not conflict with the Code of Judicial Conduct. The majority specifically call attention to the admonitions contained in Canon B(1), as previously set forth.

In regard to Question No. 3, the Committee was unanimously of the opinion that your teaching activities fall within the permissible activities outlined in Canon 4. The Committee has previously recognized the propriety of a judge participating in a teaching activity with the admonition that any compensation received therefrom should be reported in accordance with Canon 6 of the Code of Judicial Conduct. (See Ethics Opinion 75-28, October 17, 1975).

We appreciate your inquiry and trust the foregoing will be of assistance to you.


Gerald Mager

Chairman, Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges


Participating members: Boyer, Carlisle, Haverfield, Hewitt, O'Connell, Murphee, Stephenson and Thomas MacDonald, Esquire