Overview and link to Canon 7
|Judicial Candidate Voluntary Self-Disclosure Statements|
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Through the Judicial Candidate Voluntary Self-Disclosure Statement, The Florida Bar provides judicial candidates, both sitting judges and others, with the opportunity to provide information about themselves and their backgrounds to the public in preparation and anticipation of an election.
The Florida Bar does not attest to the accuracy of the content of the voluntary self-disclosure statements, although each candidate must check the box on the last page certifying that the information given is complete, true and correct to the best of their knowledge and belief, nor should the disclosures be viewed as endorsements by The Florida Bar. The self-disclosure statement is intended to give all candidates the opportunity to share information about their history, credentials, and other relevant information, with the voting public.
The self-disclosure statement was developed to provide a means by which the public could gather information about their judicial candidates. It came to the attention of the Bar that voters felt they did not have sufficient information to make educated decisions on judicial candidates.
In the self-disclosure statement, judicial candidates can provide biographical information including education, work history, special honors or awards, community involvement, public service, and other historical data. The candidate is also allowed to provide a brief statement about why a voter should support that individual and why he or she would make a good judge.
Candidates’ statements are governed by Canon 7 of the Code of Judicial Conduct. The code bars judicial candidates from making statements that appear to commit them on legal issues likely to come before them in court. The Canons also specify that a candidate may not knowingly make misleading or untruthful statements and require that each candidate execute a statement that the candidate has read and understands the obligations of the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct. Candidates who violate Canon 7 are subject to discipline.
The information collected from candidates in the voluntary self-disclosure statement will be made available to the press. The information about local candidates may also be made available to the public, provided to local bar organizations, and may be made available at courthouses, post offices, and voting stations throughout the state. The voluntary self-disclosure statement information will be available online at The Florida Bar’s website and can be obtained upon request to the Bar.