Opinion 78-12

June 5, 1978

Re: Canon 2B and 5C

Dear Judge:

The Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges acknowledges your inquiry as to whether there is any impropriety, under the Canons, in a judge co-authoring a procedural manual with a lawyer, the manual to be published and sold by a commercial publisher with royalties or compensation to the authors.

By our opinion no. 76-17 we approved a judge authoring a procedure manual for publication and sale. Your present inquiries, however, distinguishable on the ground that you will be co-authoring with an attorney. That distinction, whoever, appears to be covered by our opinion no. 76-18 wherein we approved participation by a judge in the formation of an organization for profit I conjunction with "a limited number of other Florida Bar members", the activity of the organization to have been sponsoring of legal education courses suitable for designation plan approval.

A majority of the participating members of the committee are of the view that the conduct anticipated by your inquiry is not proscribed by the Canons.

Three members of the Committee dissent, and are of the view that Canon 2B and Canon 5C proscribe the anticipated conduct. In that regard Canon 2B provides, in material part:

"...He should not lend the prestige of his office to advance the private interests of others..."

Canon 5C, in material part, provides:

"(1) A judge should refrain from financial and business dealings that tend to reflect adversely on his impartiality, interfere with the proper performance of his judicial duties, exploit his judicial position, or involve him in frequent transactions with lawyers or persons likely to come before the court on which he serves.

(3) A judge should manage his investments and other financial interests to minimize the number of cases in which he is disqualified. As soon as he can do so without serious financial detriment, he should divest himself of investments and other financial interests that might require frequent disqualification."

The majority condition their approval, of course, with the qualification that the project in no way interfere with the performance of the judge's full-time judicial duties.

Sincerely yours,

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


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