Opinions of the Judicial Ethics
Advisory Committee



Elections



Canons
Fla. Code Jud. Conduct, Canon 7 A judge or candidate for judicial office shall refrain from inappropriate political activity.
Fla. Code Jud. Conduct, Canon 7A(1)(b) Except as otherwise authorized, a judge or candidate may not publicly endorse or publicly oppose another candidate for office.
Fla. Code Jud. Conduct, Canon 7A(3)(d) A judicial candidate shall not (i) make pledges or promises of conduct in office other than the faithful and impartial performance of judicial duties; (ii) make statements that commit or appear to commit the candidate with respect to matters likely to come before the court; or (iii) knowingly misrepresent the identity, qualifications, present position or other fact concerning the candidate or an opponent.
Fla. Code Jud. Conduct, Canon 7C(1) Candidates, including incumbent judges, for a position filled by a public election shall not personally solicit campaign funds or solicit attorneys for publicly stated support. However, the candidate may establish a committee for these purposes.
Fla. Code Jud. Conduct, Canon 7C(3) Candidates, including merit retention candidates with active opposition, may attend political party functions to speak on behalf of their candidacy or matters relating to the law, the legal system or the administration of justice. However, the function must not be a fundraiser, and other candidates for the office must be invited to speak. Also, the candidate must avoid any conduct suggesting support of or opposition to a political party, a political issue, or a candidate.
Fla. Code Jud. Conduct, Commentary to Canon 7C “Limited campaign activities” does not include such items as billboards, bumper stickers, media commercials, newspaper advertisements, or signs. However, informational brochures about merit retention; the law, legal system, or administration of justice; or neutral, factual biographical sketches of the candidates are acceptable.
Opinions
Campaign Literature
JEAC Opinion Number
Subject

A judicial candidate may place a campaign advertisement on an electronic billboard that rotates among several advertisements, including advertisements for other candidates.  This does not create the appearance of an endorsement by the judicial candidate of one of the other candidates, in violation of Canon 7A(1)(b) because only one advertisement can be seen at a time.  JEAC Opinion 2010-14 is clarified. 7A(1)(b).

Judge seeking re-election may not use in campaign literature and electronic media a picture of the judge being sworn in by a now-deceased former judge. This could give the impression that the deceased judge had or would have endorsed the judge candidate. 7A(1)(b), 7A(3)(e)(ii).
Judge facing re-election must provide notice to parties when a member of the judge’s campaign committee is opposing counsel, even in cases likely to be handled without formal court appearances. The judge may not use campaign literature to provide the notice. The judge may use campaign funds to defray the costs of providing notice. 7C(1).
Judge running for re-election may create a Twitter account with a privacy setting open so anyone — including lawyers — can follow the account, under specified circumstances. The judge’s campaign manager may create and maintain the Twitter account instead of the judge, which would eliminate the potential for ex parte communications. 2A, 2B and 5A.
If a campaign website seeks to solicit campaign funds or attorneys’ publicly stated support, it must state that it is maintained by the committee of responsible persons in support of the candidate’s campaign, so it is clear that it is not maintained by the candidate personally. The Code of Judicial Conduct does not govern whether the website may include a link or other feature to facilitate campaign contributions or include an address to which contributions may be mailed. It just requires that solicitation of campaign funds be conducted by the committee of responsible persons. 7A(3)(e), 7C(1), 7C(3)(d).
Committee of responsible persons may hold an event at the candidate’s parents’ home, at which funds will be solicited for the candidate’s campaign, and may solicit contributions in the flyer promoting the event and at the event itself. However, neither the candidate nor her parents may be present when the solicitation of funds is made. 7A(3)(a), 7C(1) and 7E.

A judge or judicial candidate may not host a website or Facebook page promoting the campaign because judges and judicial candidates may not personally solicit campaign funds.  5(B)2 and 7C(1).

Judicial candidate may film an advertisement in which candidate addresses a mock jury (as if candidate were trying a case) so long as the candidate scrupulously complies with the requirements of Canon 7, especially that the message portrayed by the commercial, as well as reasonable inferences that can be drawn from the commercial, be truthful and provide the public with reliable information concerning the candidate's identity, qualifications, and professional background. 7, 7A(3)(a), and 7A(3)(d)(iii).

candidate’s committee’s internet home page may display the word “contribute” underneath the words “volunteer,” “endorse,” “education,” “experience,” “family and photos,” as long as the committee established under Canon 7C(1) clearly manages the site and the site does not create the appearance that the candidate manages the site or its content.  7 and 7C(1).

Judge who has received an award from the Florida Supreme Court and is now a candidate for judicial office may not use for campaign website or literature a photograph which depicts the judge delivering an acceptance speech while justices are in view looking on as the judge delivers the speech.  7 and 7A(3)(e)(ii).

A judicial candidate may not place an advertisement on a moving advertising truck which would display other advertisements for other candidates for elected office because it would impermissibly create the appearance that the candidate was running as part of a slate.  2, 5C(3)(b), 7, & A(1)(b), 7C(1), and 7C(3).

A committee of responsible persons, which is conducting an election campaign on behalf of a judge's candidacy, may (1) post material on the committee's page on a social networking site, if the publication of the material does not otherwise violate the Code; and  (2) establish a social networking page which has an option for persons, including lawyers who may appear before the judge, to list themselves as "fans" or supporters of the judge's candidacy, so long as the judge or committee does not control who is permitted to list himself or herself as a supporter.  2B; Commentary to 2A.

Judicial candidate may use the title “Administrative Law Judge” when describing the candidate’s years of service with the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings even though the division used the title “Hearing Officers” for administrative adjudicative officials during a portion of the candidate’s service, as long as the candidate clarifies that, for a period of time early in the candidate’s service, the position bore the title “Hearing Officer.”  7A(3)(d)(ii).

Judicial candidate who has retired from the circuit bench and enjoys senior status may not use the title “Judge” in campaign literature, media releases, printed ads, or other media venues.  (No canon cited.)

Judge seeking re-election may employ signs and other campaign materials depicting the judge wearing a robe.  Also, a judge’s campaign materials may include pictures of the judge with jurors and complimentary letters from jurors, so long as those jurors agree to the inclusion and any such letters are unsolicited and not the product of official judicial business.  The judge’s personal campaign web site may not reference and facilitate the giving of financial and other support to the judge’s re-election effort.  However, a committee of responsible persons organized for the purpose of assisting the judge’s re-election efforts may create and maintain a campaign web site that includes a mechanism for contributions and support.  The judge’s campaign materials may not include pictures of the judge with fellow judges, but the judge may include in campaign materials pictures of the judge with other officials, as long as the campaign literature includes a clear disclaimer that the photographs were not taken in connection with the judge’s re-election campaign, and the persons depicted do not necessarily endorse or support the judge.  3B(12); 7A(1)(b); 7C(1).

Judicial candidate who has retired from the circuit bench may not use the title “Judge” or any current photographs depicting the judge in a robe in campaign literature, media releases, printed ads, or other media venues.  However, the judicial candidate’s campaign may reproduce news articles (with the permission of the news media source) that include editorials addressing the candidate as “Judge” or “Honorable” and that include photographs of the candidate prior to retirement, in a robe, and seated on the bench, provided that  the candidate clarifies that these articles and photographs refer to prior service.  Also, the same judicial candidate may use the term “former judge” or “retired judge” in campaign literature, media releases, printed ads, or other media venues.  7A.

Judge’s parents may not generate a letter soliciting campaign contributions for the judge’s re-election because a candidate may not personally solicit funds, and the Code encourages a candidate’s family members to adhere to the same standard of conduct that applies to the candidate.  7A(3); 7C(1); 7E.

Judge may appear in family photograph to be used in spouse’s political campaign so long as precautions are taken to guard against a violation of Canon 7, such as not mentioning the judge’s office and not featuring any specific endorsement.  7.

Judge seeking reelection may not include favorable remarks in campaign literature from questionnaires judge had passed out to jurors because questionnaire responses might well qualify as nonpublic information acquired in a judicial capacity, which judge is forbidden to disclose or use for any purpose not related to judicial duties.  3B(12).

Candidate who served as a general master, child support hearing officer, and magistrate may not use the term “magistrate” in literature because that term was not in use for a substantial part of the candidate’s service and could lead to inaccurate conclusions.  However, if the circuit in which the candidate served allowed magistrates to wear judicial robes, the candidate may utilize photographs of proceedings in which he or she wore the robe as a magistrate provided that the literature adequately emphasizes that the photograph is not intended to convey the impression that the candidate actually served as a judge.  The candidate may also use the word “preside” to describe the nature of his or her duties and employ the term “part-time law professor” to describe adjunct teaching duties as long as the law school refers to adjuncts as professors.  No canons cited.

Judge facing a contested election may include a family picture with spouse in campaign advertising even though the spouse is also a judge as long as the spouse is not identified as a judge and there is no indication that the spouse has endorsed the judge.  7A.

Judge running for reelection may reproduce recommendations or endorsements from newspapers in campaign literature provided the judge does not knowingly misrepresent the identity, qualifications, present position or other fact concerning himself or herself or an opponent. 7A(3)(d)(iii).
Judge may not leave campaign materials at political party headquarters, even where done on an equal basis with no additional campaigning and the offices are open to all candidates for display of materials. 7A, 7C(3).
Candidate for judge who uses same consultant as two other candidates may not mail his or her literature with that of the other candidates, even if a disclaimer card is enclosed stating that the candidates do not endorse one another. 2, 7A(1)(b) and 7A(3)(a).
Judicial candidate running against incumbent judge may state in campaign literature that candidate participated as a volunteer judge for teen court diversion program as long as candidate clearly indicates that service was voluntary. 7(A)(3)(d)(iii).
Judicial candidate who has not been invited to speak at an event may not stand outside of the event distributing literature. 7 and 7C(3)
Judicial candidates may publish information concerning their opponents’ business practices and dealings as contained in public records so long as the information is relevant to the qualifications for judicial office and it does not misrepresent the identity, qualifications, present position or other fact concerning the opponent.
Judicial candidate may not state “Elect Prosecutor (name of candidate) for Circuit Judge” in campaign literature because only the Statewide Prosecutor may rightfully be called a “prosecutor” and the term “prosecutor” indicates that the candidate may be disposed to a certain course of conduct in office. 7A(3)(d)(i)-(iii).
Where judge appointed by governor is opposed in judge’s first election campaign, judge may not use the term “re-elect” in campaign literature. However, the judge may use the word “retain.” 7A(3).
Judicial candidate may film advertisement in which candidate addresses a mock jury as if candidate were trying a case so long as the candidate scrupulously complies with the requirements of Canon 7, especially that the message portrayed by the commercial, as well as reasonable inferences that can be drawn from the commercial, be truthful and provide the public with reliable information concerning the candidate's identity, qualifications, and professional background. 7, 7A(3)(a), and 7A(3)(d)(iii).
Judicial candidate who has served as hearing officer and a special master may use the phrase “quasi-judicial experience” in campaign literature as long as the literature also includes the specific posts the candidate has held. 7A(3)(d)(iii).
While a judicial candidate is not prohibited from publishing an advertisement which states that incumbent opponent is already in a deferred retirement option program and that electing the candidate will not deprive the opponent of his or her retirement, such advertisement must not present any information out of context or incompletely, and it must otherwise comply with the dictates of Canon 7. 7, 7A(3)(a), and 7A(3)(d)(iii).
Judicial candidate may post newspaper articles and editorials regarding the judicial campaign on a campaign website. 7A(3).
Judicial candidate may not use website with an address indicating that the candidate is already a judge, even if a disclaimer appears on the website. 7A(3)(d)(iii).
Endorsements

A judge, who is not running for election during the current election cycle, may attend the a post-election gathering of an adult child, who is running for judicial office, after all of the polls close in the relevant voting area, without violating the endorsement prohibition in Canon 7A(1)(b).  JEAC Opinion 2010-14 is clarified. 7A(1)(b), Commentary to Canon 7A(1)(b).

Judge seeking re-election who has opposition for re-election in a multi-county circuit may accept public endorsement of the circuit’s state attorney, sheriffs, and police chiefs. The judge may also indicate the title or designation of those individuals. 2A, 2B, 3E(1), 3F, 7.

Judicial candidate may accept fund-raising by an attorney, and permit distribution of an endorsement letter co-signed and authored by that attorney, knowing that the attorney has already endorsed another judicial candidate in a different race. Definitions, 7A(1)(b), 7C(1).

Judicial candidate may not continue to use an endorsement from a non-judicial elected partisan official who was unopposed early in the judicial campaign but, before the qualifying period for the non-judicial election ended, was challenged by an individual who qualified as a write-in candidate. No canons cited.

Judicial candidate may accept and publicize an endorsement from a non-judicial elected partisan official in the official’s individual capacity, when the official qualified to run for re-election in the same election cycle as the judicial candidate, but no other candidates qualified for the official’s office and therefore the official will automatically retain that office without an election, will not appear on the ballot, and will not be campaigning. The partisan aspects of the official’s position may not be mentioned. No canons cited.

Judicial candidates who are running in different races may travel together to campaign speaking events if the candidates do not publicly endorse each other for office, as long as the candidates do not travel together so often that it creates the impression that the judicial candidates are working together or are endorsing each other.  Additionally, the vehicle in which they are traveling must not display the other candidate’s campaign advertising.

Relatives (brothers, mother-in-law, and cousins) who are members of the committee of responsible persons supporting a judge’s contested election campaign may solicit contributions and endorsements in support of the judge’s election only if the judge does not maintain a close familial relationship with the relatives.  7, 7A(3)(b), 7C(1), and 7C(3).

A judicial candidate may accept, advertise on the candidate’s website and printed campaign advertisements, or discuss in campaign speeches and public forums, an endorsement from a non-elected official who is not campaigning for election as long as the endorsement does not mention the partisan aspects of the official’s position.  Conversely, a judicial candidate may not accept an endorsement from a non-judicial candidate for elected office because it would impermissibly create the appearance that the judge was running as part of a slate.  2, 5C(3)(b), 7, & A(1)(b), 7C(1), and 7C(3).

Judicial candidate may receive and publish an endorsement from a senior assistant county attorney who is additionally employed by a municipality as an independent contractor to serve as a code enforcement special master under the authority of section 162.03, Florida Statutes (2007).  Such special masters are not Article V judges subject to the Code of Judicial Conduct.  1; 2A; 3; 7A(1)(b).

Judge may publicize endorsement of an elected official, even if partisan, so long as that endorsement is personal and there is no indication that the judge and the official are campaigning as a team or part of a slate.  7.

Judge whose spouse intends to run for nonpartisan public office may not attend spouse’s meet and greet events because such attendance would be a clear and improper endorsement of another’s candidacy.  7A(1)(b).

Judicial candidate may advertise endorsement from a partisan office holder as long as the official is acting in a personal capacity; the official is not running for reelection; the partisan aspects of the official’s position are not mentioned; and the support is not from the official’s political party.  However, a judicial candidate may not accept an endorsement from a retired judge if that judge is eligible for recall.  5C(2); 5E; 5F; 6A; 7; 7A; 7A(1)(b); 7A(3)(c); 7B; Application of the Code of Judicial Conduct, Section B.

Judge may accept and advertise an endorsement from an elected partisan official acting in his or her personal capacity as long as the support is not from the official’s political party, the official is not running for reelection, the partisan aspects of the official’s position are not mentioned, and the advertising does not otherwise violate the Code.  The Committee declined to comment on any proposed types of advertising using the official.  7; Sections 105.09 and .071, Florida Statutes; In re Kay, 508 So. 2d 329 (Fla. 1987).

Judge may not authorize placement of a campaign sign supporting a partisan political candidate in the yard of a residence or on a vehicle the judge co-owns with his or her spouse; nor may the judge operate a vehicle displaying such a sign even if the vehicle is solely owned by his or her spouse.  Such activity would impermissibly convey the impression that the judge supports the candidate.  7A.

Candidate for judge may not be introduced to church congregation by incumbent judge as a candidate for office who is the incumbent’s friend and guest. 7A(1)(b) and 7E.
Judicial candidate may not respond in writing to request from political organization to state whether he or she would accept its endorsement, nor may candidate directly or indirectly take any affirmative action to obtain the endorsement of a major political party in the election process. 1, 2A, 7, 7A(3), 7A(3)(d)(i)-(ii), 7B(2), 7C(1), 7C(2), and 7C(3).
Traffic hearing officers are prohibited from endorsing judicial candidates because Canon 7(A) bars them from endorsing any candidate for office. Likewise, they may not make a financial contribution to any judicial candidate. 7A.
Retired judge who has removed his or her name from the list for senior judicial assignments may provide advice and financial contributions to his or her child’s judicial campaign because judge is not subject to recall and therefore not bound by Canon 7. 5C(2), 5E, 5F, 6A, 7, 7A, 7A(1)(b) and 7B.
Judicial candidate may not publicize the endorsement of a political party, even if that endorsement was given without inviting or interviewing any of the candidates. Section 105.071, Florida Statutes (1999), In re Alley, 699 So. 2d 1369 (Fla. 1997), and Concerned Democrats of Florida v. Reno, 458 F. Supp. 60 (S.D. Fla. 1978).
While a political party may support the candidacy of a judicial candidate, partisan politics should play no role whatsoever in the candidate’s conducting of his or her campaign. Judicial candidate may not respond in writing to request from political organization to state whether he or she would accept its endorsement, nor may candidate directly or indirectly take any affirmative action to obtain the endorsement of a major political party in the election process. 1, 2A, 7, 7A(3), 7A(3)(d)(i)-(ii), 7B(2), 7C(1), 7C(2), and 7C(3).
Public Appearances
Judicial candidate may attend an event sponsored by a political party at which all candidates in that judicial race have been invited to speak. However, the candidate should not sponsor a table or pay for an advertisement in the event program, even though the sponsor stated that the event is not a fund-raiser and that any funds collected would be used to pay the expenses of the event. To do so could be construed to suggest that the candidate supports the political party sponsoring the event. 7C(3).
Judicial candidate may attend a candidate forum hosted by the Ronald Reagan Republican Assembly at the headquarters of the organization’s endorsed partisan candidate for the Florida House of Representatives, but only if the judicial candidate is not seeking the organization’s endorsement and the organization has indicated it will not endorse a judicial candidate. 7A(1)(d), 7C(3).
Non-judge judicial candidate may pay a sponsorship fee to a nonpartisan organization to enable the candidate to attend a conference of the organization to pass out campaign literature and speak. 7.
Judicial candidate may have a representative attend a political party function to speak on the candidate’s behalf if the candidate is unable to attend, the speaking engagement is otherwise in compliance with Canon 7, and the representative remains in full compliance with Canon 7. 7C(3).
A judicial candidate must discourage his or her spouse from wearing the judicial candidate’s campaign badge or otherwise campaigning at a political party function because judicial candidates must encourage their families to adhere to the same standards of political conduct in support of the candidate that apply to the candidate. 7A(3)(b).
A judge may not attend a victory party for a person who was elected, without opposition, to a position such as mayor of the city in which the judge resides because attendance at a candidate’s campaign function violates Canon 7 and may create the appearance of impropriety. 2A, 7, 7A(1)(b), 7A(3)(b), 7B(2), 7C(1), 7C(2), and 7C(3).

Receded from by Opinion 2011-15 to the extent that the Committee used language that suggests contrary advice given in that opinion.
A non-judge judicial candidate may attend a candidates’ forum to which all candidates are invited, at which candidates are asked to pay for tables from which to distribute campaign literature, as long as the event is non-partisan and all candidates are required to pay the same amount to participate. As long as the candidate is not a sitting judge, the candidate may participate in this event, even if the event is a fundraiser because Canon 7 of the Code is the only provision of the Code applicable to candidates who are not sitting judges.  7.
A non-judge judicial candidate may wear a campaign badge or button and disseminate campaign literature while attending a charitable organization’s fundraising event because the non-judge candidate is not lending the prestige of judicial office to advance private interests. 2B, 5A(6), 5C(3)(b), 5C(3)(b)(i), 5C(3)(b)(iii), 7C(3), Commentary to Canon 5C(3)(b), and An Aid to Understanding Canon 7.

A judicial candidate’s spouse who is a member of a major political party’s executive committee may speak on behalf of the candidate outside of the political meetings of the political party’s executive committee.  The candidate’s spouse may also host lunches for the spouse’s friends on the committee outside of any formal meetings of the political party’s executive committee and at the same time campaign for the candidate, as long as the spouse does not inject partisan politics into the campaign, subject to the provisions of Canons 7A and 7C.  7, 7(A)(3)(b), 7(A)(3)(d), 7(C)(1), 7(C)(3), and 7(E).

A judicial candidate may attend a town hall meeting hosted by an elected state representative, intended to discuss the outcome of the legislative session because the event is not a political party function.  The judicial candidate may also wear his or her badge to the event.  However, a judicial candidate may not attend any functions hosted by “Organizing for America” unless the conduct complies with Canon 7C(3), because it is a community organizing project of the Democratic National Committee and thus, it is a political organization with strong ties to a political party.  3B(10), 7A(1)(d), 7C(3) and the Definitions Section of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

A judicial candidate may speak at a gathering of  local “Patriot” or Team Party Patriots groups only under the limited conditions described in Canon 7(C)(3).  The function must not be a fundraiser, the other candidates for the position must have been invited, the candidate must limit the presentation to the topics permitted by the Code, and the candidate must avoid conduct that may suggest support or opposition to a political party, a political issue, or a candidate.  7, 7A(1)(d), 7A(3)(b), and 7C(3).

A judge’s spouse, who is a member of the committee of responsible persons supporting the judge’s contested election campaign, may attend a political party dinner event as long as the spouse refrains from campaigning in any way for the judge’s election.  7, 7A(3)(b), 7C(1), and 7C(3).

Judge who is not a candidate for re-election or retention may attend a community-sponsored, non-partisan event in order to socialize and listen to the candidates’ speeches if the event has broad-based sponsorship in which political parties play only a de minimis role.  In essence, the event must be fundamentally nonpartisan in nature.  However, the judge must take care to ensure that he or she does not appear to support any particular candidate through his or her attendance.  7; 7A(1)(b), (d); 7B(2); 7C(2), (3); 7D.

Even a judge not seeking election may not attend a function sponsored by a political party, notwithstanding that candidates from other parties are invited to participate, because mere presence could give rise to the appearance of support for the sponsoring party.  1, 2A, 7A(1)(d), 7B(2), 7C(2), 7C(3), 7D and Commentary to Canon 2A.

Judicial candidates may not attend a “candidate round up” sponsored by a local political party’s women’s federation where they are not invited to speak on behalf of their candidacies on matters relating to the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice.  7.

Judge facing a contested election may not appear at campaign events with spouse who is also a judge because face-to-face encounters with the public are likely to progress into discussions of the spouse’s judgeship.  7A.

Judicial candidate may attend a neighborhood meet-and-greet, even if it includes candidates for other offices but does not include judicial opponents, if meet-and-greet is given by private individuals, is not affiliated with any political party, and is not a fundraiser. 7A(1)(b) and 7C(3).
Candidate for open judicial office may not attend social function hosted by congressman where invitation indicates that function will be paid for out of congressman’s reelection funds. 7A(1) and 7C(3).
Judicial candidate may attend and speak at political functions as long as they are not fundraisers and other candidates are invited, even if the judicial candidate has no opposition. 7.
Judge running for re-election unopposed may speak to the League of Women Voters and the NAACP regarding adequate funding for the courts. 7A(1) and 7C(3)
Judicial candidate may attend and speak at function under a blanket invitation in political party newsletter inviting all judicial candidates to speak, even if the opponent is not present. Likewise, judicial candidate may attend, meet, speak and hand out literature at an event to which both the judicial candidate and the opponent are invited by a political party’s president, even if the opponent does not attend. However, a judicial candidate who is not invited to speak may not stand outside of the function and hand out literature. Also, the judicial candidate’s volunteer workers may not wear badges supporting the candidate at party functions or hand out literature unless the judicial candidate is authorized to be present under Canon 7. 7 and 7C(3)
Judicial candidate may not attend a fundraiser for an anti-discrimination political organization. 7.
candidates invited to speak at a political party meeting may arrive at a reasonable time prior to their speaking time, and they may distribute literature and speak with attendees subject to the restrictions of Canon 7. However, they may remain at the meeting only until their portion of the meeting is concluded, and they may not attend a political party meeting while the party is conducting party business. 7.
A judicial candidate may not be on the premises where a political party is holding a political meeting for the purpose of meeting and greeting delegates where the candidate, and others, have not been invited for the purpose of speaking on behalf of the candidacy. 7A(1)(d), 7B(2), 7C(2) and 7C(3).
Even where all judicial candidates have been invited, a judicial candidate may not attend a political party social gathering for the purpose of speaking with guests individually rather than addressing the entire gathering as a whole because Canon 7 authorizes such attendance only in connection with an “invitation to speak.” 7, 7C(3), and 7A(1)(d).
Candidate may attend, speak, and distribute literature at a non-fundraiser partisan political event to which the candidate’s opponent has been similarly invited. 7C(3).
Candidate may attend and distribute literature at a fundraiser for the National Rifle Association because the NRA is neither a “political party" nor a "political organization" as defined in Definitions of the Code of Judicial Conduct. No canons cited.
Judge running unapposed for re-election may attend a series of forums hosted by The National Hispanic Republican Assembly to which all candidates have been invited as long as the forums are not fund-raisers. 7C(3).
Use of Campaign Funds
A judge may contribute leftover campaign funds to a charitable organization on whose board of directors the judge serves.
A judge may not accept campaign contributions from a candidate running for office in a non-judicial election and may not accept contributions from an officer in a local political party organization and because accepting such contributions is reserved solely for the committee of responsible persons formed to secure funds for the judge’s campaign.  This is true even if neither (1) the candidate running for office in a non-judicial election nor (2) the officer in the local political party organization is on the committee of responsible persons established to secure funds for the judge’s campaign. 7, 7C(1).
A judicial candidate may purchase tent space with funds drawn from the campaign account made out to the organizer of the county fair and share space in the tent alongside other candidates for judicial or non-judicial elected office, as long as the sharing of tent space does not create the appearance that the candidate is running as part of a slate or as a member of a political party.  2, 5C(3)(b), 7, & A(1)(b), 7C(1), and 7C(3).
Judge running for reelection may use campaign funds to pay admission and table fees at meet-and-greet events if they are not fundraisers. 2B, 5C(3)(b) and 7C(3).
Judicial candidate may use campaign funds to attend county-wide, nonpartisan meet and greet event so long as the event has no fundraising component. Canon 7 and Section 105.071, Fla. Stat.
Circuit judge running for office may not directly solicit attorneys for public and financial support, nor may he or she distribute to attorneys at meetings in non- government buildings campaign materials soliciting a contribution and containing a return envelope. 1, 2A, 7, 7A(3), 7B(2), 7B(3), 7C(1), and7C(3).
Canon 7 applies to traffic hearing officers and bars them from making any financial contribution to a political candidate. 7
Judge may return surplus campaign funds pro rata to each contributor, even if those contributors include lawyers who may appear before the judge. Section 106.141(4)(a), Florida Statutes (1999).
Judicial candidate for appointment to judicial office who is also a candidate to election for judicial office may raise funds through a committee to support his or her election campaign. 7B(1) and 7C(1).
Public Comment
A judicial candidate may not indicate, when asked by voters what criteria they should use to evaluate candidates for judicial office, that the candidate agrees with the criteria used by a named United States president because, under Canon 7C(3), judicial candidates “should refrain from commenting on the candidate’s affiliation with any political party or other candidate, and should avoid expressing a position on any political issue.”  2, 5C(3)(b), 7, & A(1)(b), 7C(1), and 7C(3).
Judicial candidates may respond to questionnaires on such subjects as same-sex marriage, parental notification of abortion, and whether the candidate agrees with certain court decisions, so long as (1) the candidate clearly states that his or her answers do not constitute a promise to rule in any particular way on a case; (2) the candidate clearly acknowledges the obligation to follow binding legal precedent; (3) the candidate does not appear to endorse any other individual likely to be involved in an election for public office or the platform of a political party; and (4) any commentary on court decisions is analytical, informed, thoughtful and dignified. 3B(9), 4B and 7A(3)(d)(i).
Judicial candidate may respond to newspaper survey which may be published and which contains questions concerning candidate’s personal opinions on certain issues, as long as the candidate also states that he or she will uphold the law. 7A(3)(d)(i)-(iii).
Incumbent judge may not publicly comment on the reasons for his ruling on a motion filed by a judicial opponent in a pending legal proceeding, nor may he publicly comment on the past conduct and actions in a pending legal proceeding of a judicial opponent. 3, 3B(9) and 7A(3)(d)(iii).
A judicial candidate may state views on constitutional or statutory construction and other controversial issues so long as the candidate does not advocate opposition to or support of political issues, makes no pledge or promise of conduct in office other than the faithful and impartial performance of the duties of the office, and does not make statements which commit or appear to commit the candidate with respect to cases, controversies or issues that are likely to come before the Court. A candidate should emphasize in any public statement the candidate's duty to uphold the law regardless of his or her personal views. 7.
Judicial candidate may not comment to the media regarding the pending civil or criminal cases of the candidate’s clients. 3B(9).
Judicial candidate may comment upon or publicize (1) results of bar poll ranking opponent as the worst county judge in several categories; and (2) voice recordings of opponent while presiding on the bench provided the commentary is truthful, pertinent, and material to judicial office. Also, the candidate should not take information out of context. 7A(3)(d)(iii).
Candidate’s Non-Election Activities

Judge seeking re-election must disclose to counsel and parties in all cases when an attorney who is on the judge’s fund-raising committee appears in a proceeding before the judge. Mere contribution to or assistance with the judge’s campaign does not require automatic recusal. Disclosure need be made only in cases where some action by the judge is required. Disclosure may be made using official letterhead at public expense because it is for the benefit of litigants and integrity of the judicial system rather than for the judge’s personal benefit. 3E(1), 7C(1).

State office holder, who was elected in a partisan election and serves as a member of a political party but holds no office in the political party or the body in which the official currently serves, need not resign in order to run for judicial office. 7.

Judicial candidate’s campaign account, for which the candidate is the treasurer, may pay for the management of a website maintained by the candidate’s committee. The candidate may personally oversee the design/content of the website and the paid communications firm that is managing the website. A principal of the paid communications firm may be on the candidate’s committee of responsible persons. The website may contain a link permitting direct contributions to the campaign as long as the contributions are solicited by a committee of responsible persons. A single committee member oversee the website. 7C(1).

Judicial candidate may not wear jewelry or apparel depicting an elephant or donkey in public during campaign if a reasonable person would construe it as an affiliation with, or conduct suggesting support of, a political party. 7A(3)(b), 7C(3).

A Civil Traffic Infraction Hearing Officer may remain in that position while campaigning for election as a county judge, because the hearing officer seeks election to a judicial position and not a non-judicial position. The Committee stated it had no position on whether any statute or other law may require resignation or other action in order to seek election to the judicial position. 7(2).

A judge who intends to seek re-election may not preside over a case in which the law partner and campaign treasurer of an attorney who has qualified to run against the judge is an attorney for one of the parties because presiding over a case which involves a political opponent’s law partner/campaign treasurer may call into question the judge’s impartiality. 3E(1).

A judge who is a candidate for re-election may make a contribution to a public broadcasting station which will thereafter thank the judge by name on the air for the contribution, as long as the judge makes reasonable efforts to communicate that the request that the judge’s name and contribution not be used as a lure for contributions by other donors.  5(B)2 and 7C(1).

A judicial candidate’s spouse may be a member of a major political party’s executive committee, as long as the spouse complies with the provisions of 7A and 7C and the candidate does not inject partisan politics into the campaign.  7, 7(A)(3)(b), 7(A)(3)(d), 7(C)(1), 7(C)(3), and 7(E).

A judicial candidate may participate in a walk-a-thon to raise funds for a charitable organization while wearing a shirt advertising the candidate’s campaign, and allow members of his or her campaign to also participate in a walk-a-thon to raise funds for a charitable organization while wearing a shirt advertising the candidate’s campaign, because judicial candidates are only governed by Canon 7, and not by the remainder of the Code.  Conversely, a judicial candidate may not send an e-mail inviting persons to attend a fundraiser for the candidate’s campaign and personally encourage persons to attend the fundraiser because judges and judicial candidates are prohibited from personally soliciting campaign funds.  2, 5C(3)(b), 7, & A(1)(b), 7C(1), and 7C(3).

A candidate for judicial office may designate a lawyer who may appear before him or her as a “friend” on a social networking site, and permit such lawyers to add the candidate as his or her “friend.”  3E(1)(f) and 7.

Judicial candidate may sign a Cuban American Bar Association 2008 Judicial Election Campaign Pledge, as long as the candidate qualifies the pledge by making it “subject to the requirements of the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct.”  3B(5); 3B(7); 3C(4); 7A(3)(d)(i).
Judicial candidate is not required by the Code of Judicial Conduct to resign as a civil traffic infraction hearing officer while running for a position as a county court judge.  7A(2).
Canon 7 applies to any prospective judicial candidate who has engaged in any level of public activity directed at qualifying for office.  Therefore, a prospective candidate identifying himself or herself as “pre-qualified” as a candidate must resign from serving as a pro bono advisor to a political party’s executive committee.  7A(1)(a).
Judge running for reelection may continue to write otherwise appropriate weekly newspaper column during the campaign. 4B and 5B.
Judicial candidate who was not already a judge could participate in a fundraiser for a non-profit organization because Canon 5 does not apply to judicial candidates. 5 and 7.
Judicial candidate may not host a weekly radio talk show during the election season or, if elected, after the date of the election because it would be virtually impossible to avoid commenting on current legal matters and cases. 4B and 5B.
Judge-elect may not actively participate in non-judicial campaigns prior to being sworn in. 7(1)(b).
Campaign Tactics
A judicial candidate who is the campaign treasurer may remove a campaign contribution from a post office box and deposit it in the campaign account. This is not improperly “accepting” contributions but rather fulfillment of a ministerial act. 7C(1), 7C(3)(d).
If a judicial candidate’s supporter is displaying that candidate’s campaign sign on the supporter’s vehicle alongside a partisan candidate’s campaign sign, the judicial candidate must have the supporter remove the judicial candidate’s campaign sign if the supporter is “an employee or official who serves at the pleasure of the candidate.” But if the supporter is “an employee or official subject to the candidate’s direction and control,” the candidate is merely required to discourage the supporter from displaying the sign. If the supporter is neither of these, the candidate need not, but should, take action. 7A(1)(b), 7A(3)(c).
Committee of responsible persons may hold an event at the candidate’s parents’ home, at which funds will be solicited for the candidate’s campaign, and may solicit contributions in the flyer promoting the event and at the event itself. However, neither the candidate nor her parents may be present when the solicitation of funds is made. 7A(3)(a), 7C(1), 7E.
A judge’s spouse may host a campaign event for a candidate at the home of the judge and the spouse as long as the judge does not attend the event.  The judge should also genuinely encourage the spouse to host the event elsewhere to avoid the appearance of impropriety. 5F(2).
A judicial candidate’s spouse may campaign for the candidate at non-political functions that the candidate and the spouse may attend together, and at functions that the candidate’s opponent and the candidate attend jointly attend and are asked to speak, as long as the spouse does not inject partisan politics into the campaign, subject to the provisions of Canons 7A and 7C.  7, 7(A)(3)(b), 7(A)(3)(d), 7(C)(1), 7(C)(3), and 7(E).
A judicial candidate may not have a volunteer campaign manager who is an officer of a partisan political party, even if the volunteer does not campaign for the candidate while engaged in partisan activities.  7 and 7C(1).
A candidate for judicial office may use as a campaign consultant a sitting member of the county commission who is not currently running for office or asserting any political party view in support of any other non-judicial or judicial candidate, because the county commissioner is not running himself.  The commissioner, however, must act as an individual and not on behalf of any political party and must not imply the judge shares judicial or political philosophies with any other candidate.  7 and 7A(3)(e)(ii).
A judicial candidate may not hire a partisan political candidate running for a different office or an executive officer of a partisan political committee to be the judicial candidate’s campaign manager/consultant.  7.
Prospective judicial candidate may not use the assistance of a political party in gathering petition signatures to qualify for judicial election.  7.
Committee declined to render opinion on whether a candidate for judicial office could send letters to public officials inquiring about the health of the candidate’s opponent, an incumbent judge. 1, 2, and 7A(3)(a).
Judge running for re-election may retain consulting firm in which another judge’s spouse has an ownership interest. 7, 7A(3)(b), and 7C(1)
Judicial candidate may not privately disclose party affiliation or use political party facilities in connection with campaign. The only partisan political activity in which judicial candidates may participate is voting. Fla. Stat. § 105.071 and Canon 7.