Thursday, September 1, 2011
A judge may not attend an event honoring veterans that helps to raise funds for such veterans, according to a recent opinion of the Florida Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee.
The question posed:
The inquiring judge has been invited to attend the annual black tie affair of a respected veterans’ organization. The event honors our past and present armed forces, and awards will be given to several individuals who continue to fight for the veteran population, locally, regionally, and nationally. The inquiring judge has been selected to receive a prestigious award for dedication and commitment to our veterans and their families. The event is also a fundraiser, and estimates are that 50-60% of funds generated will assist veterans identified in court as needing assistance.
Worthy event or not:
As with other noble charitable causes, this Committee does not question the value of an event honoring past and present armed forces, veterans and their families, and individuals who continue to fight for veterans. However, such an event does not qualify under the 2008 amendments to the Code as law-related.
Likewise this respected veterans’ organization is devoted to veterans, and so it does not qualify under the 2008 amendments to Canon 4D as being devoted to the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice.
The inquiring judge should decline the invitation.
Any thoughts as to whether this result stems from a crabbed view of judicial ethics? (Mike Frisch)
Typo corrected per Rick Underwood's comment.