April 14, 2011
A judge may appear in a television public service message, according to a recent opinion of Florida's Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee.
The Inquiring Judge, after presiding over Juvenile Delinquency Court, has become involved in speaking to and working with local groups about the need for focusing on parenting. The Inquiring Judge wishes to appear in a television public service announcement spot which identifies issues facing juveniles and parents. Additionally, the announcement will direct parents who want information or help to call Helpline 2-1-1, sponsored by 2-1-1 Big Bend, an independent nonprofit organization which provides confidential counseling, information and referral services. The persons are also told they can call 1-800-FLA-LOVE (1-800-362-5683), a parenting help line partially funded by the State of Florida, Department of Children and Family Services, but actually maintained and provided by 2-1-1 Big Bend.
The Inquiring Judge has submitted a television public announcement spot that has already been produced, as well as transcripts for two other prospective spots. The proposed messages are:
1. Did you know that the rate for juvenile crime goes up right after school is over between 2-6 in the afternoon? And that's the same time period your children are at greatest risk of being a victim of crime. Keep your children busy.
For information about after school programs or if you are having a parenting emergency and do not know what to do, call the parenting help line day or night. Because children grow better when their parents grow with them.
2. Did you know that nearly 1 in 3 children are considered over-weight or obese? And research shows that the type of food your children eat can affect their ability to learn....and can even affect their overall IQ?
For more information about child nutrition or parenting in general, call the parenting help line. Because children grow better when their parents grow with them.
3. To be successful, kids need guidance. But parenting can be a tough job and the right answers aren't always obvious. Some-times, you may feel helpless, exhausted, frustrated or angry.... and making decisions under those pressures often turn out disastrous.
If you are having a parenting emergency and don't know what to do, call the parenting help line day or night. Because children grown better when their parents grow with them.
The committee, as in the case of requests to vet campaign literature, will not screen any and all contemplated public statements of Florida's judges. Therefore, our advice to the Inquiring Judge will address only the propriety of the contemplated conduct of appearing in a public service spot.
...the Committee feels that the judge's proposed appearance in the public service announcement is not prohibited. However, the Inquiring Judge is cautioned to carefully examine all the provisions of the Code to ensure that the content of the comments are not otherwise prohibited.
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