January 21, 1992
( OPINION NO: 92-4
(Lobby of courthouse
(Canons 4 and 5
RE: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges - Your inquiry dated December 11, 1991.
You ask what limits the Code of Judicial Conduct imposes on your participation in the restoration of the lobby of the Dade County Courthouse. Specifically, you inquire whether you and other judges can contact the various bar association presidents in your community seeking their assistance in soliciting funds from their members for the restoration project .
The Committee members unanimously agree this activity is proscribed. They feel this is simply direct and indirect participation in fund raising in its strictest sense, and prohibited by both Canons 4 and 5. However, these same Canons permit you to be a member of the restoration committee, and allow you to use your name in its letterhead and in other public announcements so long as you do not use or permit the use of the prestige of your office to solicit contributions .
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).
With regards, I remain,
Yours very truly,
Jere Tolton, Chairman, Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
cc: All Committee Members
Participating Members: Judges Tolton, Green, Booth, Dell, Levy, Doughtie,Goldstein, Farina, Rushing, and Clarke, Esq.
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
Brooke S. Kennerly, Executive Director, Judicial Qualifications Commission.
Hon. Walter K. Stapleton, Chairman, Ethics Advisory panel of the Judicial Conference of the United States .
Cynthia Grey, Director, American Judicature Society
Ms. Jean Underhill, Librarian, Broward County Law Library
Mr. Robert Wallace, Librarian, Dade County Law Library
Ms. Joan D. Cannon, Librarian, Supreme Court of Florida
William D. Wilkinson, Court Administrator, Lee County
Hon. Thomas H. Barkdull, Jr. , Third District Court of Appeal
Lynda Glyman, Esq. Center for Professional Responsibility, American Bar Association
Hon. Charles McClure, Chief Judge, Second Judicial Circuit
Office of State Court Administrator, Legal Affairs & Education