Opinions of the Judicial Ethics
Advisory Committee



2004


 

 Opinion
 Canon(s)
 Subject
 2004-01
2, 4
Whether a judge should disqualify himself/herself pursuant to Canon 3E when an attorney or any member of the attorney's law firm appears before the judge and the judge has a close social relationship with the attorney, the attorney served as the judge's campaign treasurer and will serve in the same capacity in 2004, and the attorney represented the judge in a personal injury lawsuit eleven (11) years ago.
 2004-02
5(A)1
Whether a General Master sitting in Family Division of Circuit Court may serve as a member of an Advisory Committee for a Florida Assertive Community Treatment Team.
 2004-03
4A(1)(2)(3), 4D(1)(a)(b)(2)(b)(d) and5A(1)
May a judge participate in a court program involving eviction cases in which the judge refers tenants to receive federally funded rent loans?
 2004-04
Preamble and 4D, 7A(1)(b)
Whether an active circuit or county court judge may participate on a committee to honor a member of the district court of appeal?
 2004-05
4D and 5C(2)
Whether a County Court Judge may accept an appointment from a local legislative body to its advisory Commission on the Status of Woman.
 2004-06
3E(1)(d)(ii), 3D, 5A(1)(3), 5(C)(3)(b)(iii), 2B, 2C

Whether a two-year period is an acceptable length of time for a newly elected judge to disqualify the judge from hearing any of the judge's law firm's cases.

Whether a judge is required to announce or otherwise notify the parties when a lawyer from law firms employing the judge's two first cousins appears before the judge.

Whether a judge may maintain membership in a non-profit, nonpartisan political and public affairs organization.

 2004-07
(Elections)
1, 2A, 7, 7A(3), 7B(2), 7B(3) and 7C(1), 7C(3)

May a circuit judge who is a candidate for office directly solicit attorneys for public and financial support?

May a circuit judge who is a candidate for office distribute to attorneys at meetings in non- government buildings, campaign material that has a profile of the judge, solicits a financial contribution or in-kind contribution, and contains an envelope for mailing a contribution?

 2004-08
4D, 5C

Whether a judge can serve as a board member of the Florida Worker's Compensation Insurance Guaranty Association.

 2004-09
(Elections)
1, 2A, 7, 7A(3), 7A(3)(d)(i)-(ii), 7B(2), 7C(1), 7C(2), 7C(3)

1. May a candidate for judicial office submit material in writing to a major political party or its executive committee for the purpose of receiving an endorsement by the major political party or its executive committee before the election process?

2. May a candidate for judicial office directly or indirectly take any affirmative action to obtain the endorsement of a major political party in the election process?

3. May a candidate for judicial office announce the candidate's views on disputed legal or political issues, orally or in writing, consistent with the ruling in Republican Party of Minnesota v. White, 536 U.S. 765 (2002)?

 2004-10
2, 5, and 7

Should a retired judge who presides as a senior judge from time to time resign from the board of the homeowners' association in the judge's community, where the homeowners' association is being sued by a homeowner.

 2004-11
(Elections)
7

May a judicial candidate who has no opponent attend and speak at Democratic and Republican club meetings?

 2004-12
5(C)(2)

Whether a circuit court judge may serve on the Governmental Commission on Marriage and Family Support Initiatives.

 2004-13
3E(1)

May a judge, who recused himself/herself from a case respond to the Florida Parole Commission's request for input on a defendant's request for waiver of rules of executive clemency?

 2004-14
4 and 5

May a judge participate in a local criminal advisory committee that would bring together representatives of various entities involved in disposition of felony, misdemeanor, and traffic cases?

 2004-15
5(A)(3), 5(G)

Whether a judge's spouse's first cousin is a member of the judge's family to whom the judge can give advice concerning his role as personal representative of his spouse's aunt's estate and for whom the judge can prepare documents for filing in probate proceedings?

 2004-16
5C(3), 6A

A. Whether, under Canon 5, a judge may serve as a trustee of a non-profit philanthropic trust, where the judge will not be asked to provide legal advice or services and the trust is not involved in significant litigation, and

B. Whether, under Canon 6, a judge can receive significant compensation from the trust for trust services.

 2004-17
4A, 4B

Whether a judge can be interviewed by a textbook publisher who is creating for website publication an educational video designed to educate students about the criminal justice system.

 2004-18
(Election)
3, 3B(9), 7A(3)(d)(iii)

1. Whether a judge who is a candidate for re-election may publicly comment on the reasons for his ruling on a motion filed by a judicial opponent in a pending legal proceeding.

2. Whether a judge who is a candidate for re-election may publicly comment on the past conduct and actions in a pending legal proceeding of a judicial opponent.

 2004-19
2 and 5

Whether a judge may participate as a member of an ad hoc team which will interview the final candidates for the County Attorney position in the judge's county.

 2004-20
(Election)
7(A)(3)(d)(iii)

Whether a candidate for judicial office who is running against an incumbent judge may state in campaign literature that the candidate served as a volunteer judge in a teen court diversion program.

 2004-21
(Election)
7A(1), 7C(3)

Whether a candidate for election to an open judicial seat may attend a social function hosted by a United States Congressman when the invitation reflects the function is paid for by the Congressman's re-election funds.

 2004-22
2(B) and 3(D)

May a judge prepare an affidavit of good character, pursuant to a subpoena duces tecum without deposition, on behalf of a lawyer pending disciplinary action with the Florida Bar?

 2004-23
(Election)
 

Whether a judicial candidate may purchase a table with campaign funds, distribute campaign literature, and meet voters at a county-wide, non-partisan event?

 2004-24
(Election)
7A(3)(d)(i)-(ii), 7A(3)(d)(i)-(iii) 

Whether a judicial candidate may answer questions posed by a newspaper in an opinion survey where the responses to questions may be published in the newspaper?

 2004-25
1, 2, and 7A(3)(a)

Whether a non-incumbent judicial candidate can publish a letter seeking information from public officials about the health of an incumbent judge the judicial candidate plans to run against.

 2004-26
5, 5C(3)

1. Whether a judge may serve on the board of directors of a non-profit organization serving the needs of the blind.

2. Whether a judge may serve on the board of directors of a non-profit organization designed to inspire excellence in leadership.

3. Whether a judge may serve as president of a non-profit organization promoting women in positions of leadership.

 2004-27
2B, 4B, 5B, 7C(3) and 5C(3)(b)

1. Whether a judge or candidate for judicial office can attend various "meet and greet" functions sponsored by non-partisan groups, and use campaign funds to pay admission and table fees at these events.

2. Whether a judge or candidate can attend the foregoing "meet and greet" functions if they are "fundraisers."

3. Whether the inquiring judge, who has been writing a weekly newspaper column, can continue to write the column while in a contested re-election campaign.

 2004-28
(Election)
7A(1)(b) and 7C(3)

Whether a candidate for judicial office can attend a "meet and greet" function for judicial and non-judicial candidates, given by a group of people who live in the same neighborhood, where all candidates for the same judicial seat are not included, and where the function is not a fund-raiser nor connected to any political party.

 2004-29
(Election)
2; 7A(1)(b); 7A(3)(a)

Whether a judicial candidate, who has the same campaign consultant as two judicial candidates running in separate judicial races, can, in order to save money, mail his or her individual campaign brochure in an envelope containing the other candidates' brochures if each candidate encloses a disclaimer card stating that the candidates are not endorsing each other.

 2004-30
(Election)
7A(1)(b), 7E

Whether a judicial candidate can attend church services and be introduced to the congregation as a candidate for judicial office by an incumbent judge who describes the judicial candidate as the incumbent judge's "friend and guest?"

 2004-31
(Election)
7A and 7C(3)

Whether a judicial candidate can leave campaign literature on display tables in both Republican and Democratic committee headquarters, where no plans are made involving campaigning within these offices and where both Republican and Democratic committee offices are open to any and all candidates for the purpose of displaying campaign material.

 2004-32
3 and 5

Whether a judge, serving in a leadership capacity of a community based non-profit organization, may publish a letter inviting leaders to begin addressing issues raised in the organization's study of race relations?

 2004-33
(Election)
7A(3)(d)(iii)

Whether a judge who is a candidate for re-election may reproduce and distribute the recommendations or endorsements of newspapers, or a portion of those recommendations or endorsements, in campaign literature.

 2004-34
4, 4A, 4B, 4D, 5 and 5A

May a recently elected judge continue to sit as a member of The Florida Bar Board of Governors until the judge's term expires?

 2004-35
3E(1)

Must a judge disclose a close personal friendship with a lawyer who does not personally practice before the judge, when handling cases involving that attorney's associate?

 2004-36
5C(3)(b)(i)

May a judge directly solicit funds from the public on behalf of a non-profit organization where the identity of the judge is unknown and/or disguised?

 2004-37
Recedes from JEAC Opinion 95-35
2, Commentary to 2B

May a judge-elect, who has previously been retained by a party as an expert witness, give expert testimony at a deposition pursuant to a subpoena?

 2004-38
3, 3A, 3B(8), & 3C(1)

Does the Code of Judicial Conduct establish numerical limits for vacation time for a circuit or county judge?

Does the Code of Judicial Conduct, directly or indirectly, address the issue of excessive or unreasonable vacation time?