February 14, 1990
Canons 3, 5C
Sale or lease of property
You have inquired whether you may enter into an arrangement with the Department of Corrections involving a vacant lot you own. It is not clear from your inquiry whether the lot will be leased or sold to the Department. Assuming that a leasehold arrangement is contemplated, a majority of the committee has expressed the view that such an arrangement would be inappropriate. It has also been noted that the frequency of persons representing the Department appearing before you could result in frequent recusals as a result of Canon 5C(1).
The committee's members, however, consistent with opinion 86-1, concur in the view that you may sell the property to the governmental agency. In short, the consensus is that you should not enter into a lease arrangement with a governmental agency.
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 So2d 5 (Fla. 1976).
Richard H. Frank, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
cc: All Committee Members
Participating Members: Judges Green, Tolton, Booth, Dell, Doughtie, Frank, Simons and Clarke, Esquire.
All reference to the inquiring judge is deleted from the copies sent to the following individuals.
Mr. Sid White, Clerk of the Supreme Court of Florida
Judson Orrick, Managing Editor, The Florida Bar Journal
Brooke S. Kennerly, Executive Director, Judicial Qualifications Commission.
Hon. Walter K. Stapleton, Chairman, Ethics Advisory Panel of the Judicial Conference of the United States .
Deborah Solomon, American Judicature Society
Ms. Jean Underhill, Librarian, Broward County Law Library
Mr. Robert Wallace, Librarian, Dade County Law Library
Mr. Brian Polley, Librarian, Supreme Court of Florida
Mr. Richard Kuhn, Court Administrator, Lee County
Hon. Thomas H . Barkdull , Jr ., Third District Court of Appeal
Ms. Georgeanne Marsh, Center for Professional Responsibility, American Bar Association