Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Amendments to Canon 6 of The Code of Judicial Conduct

Supreme Court of Florida

May 10, 2018

IN RE AMENDMENTS TO CANON 6 OF THE CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT.

         THE FILING OF A MOTION FOR REHEARING SHALL NOT ALTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THESE AMENDMENTS.

          Original Proceeding - The Code of Judicial Conduct

          PER CURIAM.

         The Court, on its own motion, amends the Code of Judicial Conduct (Code) to clarify the Canon 6A(3) public reporting requirement for the reimbursement or direct payment of expenses, and waiver of fees or charges associated with a judge's participation in quasi-judicial and extrajudicial activities permitted by the Code.[1]

         In a recent advisory opinion, the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee (JEAC) concluded that Canon 6A(3) requires a judge who attends a quasi-judicial activity, like one of the annual, statewide conferences of judges, to report the reimbursement or direct payment of the judge's travel expenses by the State of Florida, if the reimbursement or payment exceeds $100 individually or combined with other such reimbursements or direct payments in the same calendar year. See Fla. JEAC Op. 2018-7, at 4-5. In the same advisory opinion, the JEAC advised that Canon 6A(3) requires a judge, who is designated by a conference of judges to travel to Tallahassee concerning legislative matters, to report the reimbursement and direct payment of the judge's travel expenses, if they exceed $100 from the same source in the same calendar year. Id. at 5.

         In 2017, when the Court amended Canon 6 to require a judge to report the reimbursement or direct payment of expenses, and the waiver of fees or charges associated with the judge's participation in quasi-judicial and extrajudicial activities permitted by the Code, [2] the Court did not intend to require the reporting of the reimbursement or direct payment of expenses by the State or a judicial branch entity, such as one of conferences of judges recognized by this Court in Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.220 (Conferences of Judges). There is no need for such public reporting because in order for the State or a judicial branch entity to reimburse or pay the reasonable expenses associated with a judge's participation in a permitted quasi-judicial activity, the judge's participation in the event or activity must be among the responsibilities of that judicial office and promote the official business of the court system or the specific judicial branch entity. And, therefore, the reimbursement or payment of such expenses would be a public record under Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.420.

         Therefore, we amend Canon 6A(3) and Form 6A to clarify that a judge must only report expense reimbursements and direct payments, and waivers of fees or charges, as required by Canons 6A(3) and 6B(2), when the reimbursement, payment, or waiver is from a source other than the State or a judicial branch entity, as defined in Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.420(b)(2).[3] We also amend the Commentary to Canon 6A to explain that the Canon 6A(3) reporting requirement is similar to the reporting requirement in Rule 3.15(A)(3) of the American Bar Association Model Code of Judicial Conduct (2011), which requires a judge to report expense reimbursements and fee waivers associated with the judge's participation in permitted extrajudicial activities, from sources other than the judge's employing entity, when the amount received from same source in the same calendar year exceeds a specified amount. We further amend the Commentary to Canon 6A to emphasize that a judge does not have to report the amount of the reimbursement, payment, or waiver on Form 6A; only the dates, location, and purpose of the event or activity for which expenses were reimbursed or paid or fees were waived must be reported.

         Accordingly, we amend the Code of Judicial Conduct, as reflected in the appendix to this opinion. New language is indicated by underscoring and deletions are indicated by struck-through type. The amendments are effective immediately upon the release of this opinion. Because the amendments were not published for comment prior to their adoption, interested persons shall have sixty days from the date of this opinion in which to file comments with the Court.[4] The Court encourages the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, the Conference of District Court of Appeal Judges, the Conference of Circuit Court Judges, and the Conference of County Court Judges to comment on the amendments.

         It is so ordered.

          LABARGA, C.J., and PARIENTE, LEWIS, QUINCE, CANADY, POLSTON, and LAWSON, J.J., concur.

         APPENDIX

         Canon 6. Fiscal Matters of a Judge Shall be Conducted in a Manner That Does Not Give the Appearance of Influence or Impropriety; a Judge Shall Regularly File Public Reports as Required by Article II, Section 8, of the Constitution of Florida, and Shall Publicly Report Gifts, Expense Reimbursements and Payments, and Waivers of Fees or Charges; Additional Financial Information Shall be Filed With the Judicial Qualifications Commission to Ensure Full Financial Disclosure

         A. Compensation for Quasi-Judicial and Extrajudicial Services, Reimbursement or Payment of Expenses, and Waiver of Fees or Charges.

         A judge may accept compensation, reimbursement, or direct payment of expenses, and a waiver or partial waiver of fees or charges for registration, tuition, and similar items associated with the judge's participation in quasi-judicial and extrajudicial activities permitted by this Code, if the source of such payments, or waiver does not give the appearance of influencing the judge in the performance of judicial duties or otherwise give the appearance of impropriety, subject to the following restrictions:

         (1) Compensation. Compensation shall not exceed a reasonable amount nor shall it exceed what a person who is not a judge would receive for the same activity. Compensation is reportable as income under Canon 6B(1).

         (2) Honoraria and Speaking Fees. A judge may accept honoraria and speaking fees that are reasonable and commensurate with the task performed. Honoraria and speaking fees are reportable as income under Canon 6B(1).

         (3) Reimbursement or Payment of Expenses, and Waiver of Fees or Charges. Expense reimbursement shall be limited to the actual cost of travel, food, and lodging reasonably incurred by the judge and, where appropriate to the occasion, to the judge's spouse. Any payment in excess of such an amount is compensation and is reportable as income under Canon 6B(1). Reimbursement or direct payment of expenses, and waiver or partial waiver of fees or charges for the judge or the judge's spouse or guest, from sources other than the state or a judicial branch entity as defined in Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.420(b)(2), the amount of which ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.