October 21, 1992
Canon 7A(4) and 7A(1)(b) and 2B
You state that years ago you administered the oath of office to a local government official. A photograph was taken of that ceremony with you in judicial robes. Now, that official has requested permission to use the photograph in political campaign literature.
You ask the following:
(1) Would the use of the photograph be a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct for you.
(2) Would it violate the Code for the candidate to use a caption to the effect, "Here is candidate being sworn in by the candidate's child?"
(3) Does it make a difference that the Judge is related to the candidate?
The Committee unanimously agrees that Canon 7A(4), Canon 7A(1)(b) and Canon 2B apply. You are prohibited from giving your permission to use the photograph in political campaign literature especially because you appear in judicial robes. It does not make a difference that you are related to the candidate. You are not to engage in political activity. You should not lend the prestige of office to advance the private interest of others.
In a prior opinion, to-wit 90-7, the Committee said a family photograph could be used if the judicial spouse was not identified as a judge.
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,
Harvey Goldstein, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
cc: All Committee Members
Participating members: Judges Green, Booth, Dell, Doughtie, Goldstein, Farina, Rushing and Clarke, Esq.
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