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Judicial Campaign Conduct Forums scheduled May 5 and 6

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'The Supreme Court of Florida vigorously enforces the rules governing campaign practices among those seeking election to judicial office'

Florida courtsAll candidates seeking election as judges or standing for merit retention in 2022 will soon be able to participate in judicial campaign conduct forums offering training in the rules governing election to judicial office.

Sponsored by the Supreme Court of Florida and The Florida Bar Board of Governors, the forums are held every election year with support of the state’s trial court chief judges and the court’s Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee. Scheduled Thursday and Friday, May 5 and 6, at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, the forums will emphasize the importance of conducting campaigns in compliance with the myriad laws and rules governing judicial elections. All judicial candidates seeking contested seats or facing active opposition for merit retention are encouraged to participate in one of several forums presently scheduled in seven cities across the state. Candidates unable to be present will have the opportunity to participate at a statewide webinar on May 6. Subject to change after the close of qualifying, the schedule follows this article.

Chief judges will open the forums with brief remarks emphasizing the importance of public trust and confidence in the judicial system. Representatives of the Board of Governors will speak regarding the Bar’s role in judicial elections and Bar rules applicable to candidates for judicial office.

Members of the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee will offer a summary review of Canon 7 of Florida’s Code of Judicial Conduct, give examples of activities that may violate the code, and call attention to resources available to all candidates for judicial office. The JEAC will further impress upon candidates, campaign staff, and others in the community the seriousness with which the Supreme Court of Florida views any abuse of the elections process.

“The judicial branch depends upon public confidence in the individuals who have been given the privilege and the responsibility of serving as judges,” said JEAC Chair Judge Nina Ashenafi-Richardson.

Given the negative impact that campaign misconduc can have on that confidence, Judge Ashenafi-Richardson noted that the forums serve as reminders to candidates that “the Supreme Court of Florida vigorously enforces the rules governing campaign practices among those seeking election to judicial office.”

The Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee renders advisory opinions interpreting the application of the Code of Judicial Conduct to specific circumstances confronting or affecting judges and judicial candidates.  The JEAC’s elections booklet, An Aid to Understanding Canon 7, along with other materials, are available on the court’s website. The committee has requested candidates copy for personal use An Aid to Understanding Canon 7 and any other materials they may wish to bring with them to the forums.

Campaign managers and staff, voluntary bar association presidents, state and county political party chairs, representatives of the print and broadcast media, as well as members of the general public are welcome to attend.  Electronic registration for the webinar is here.

Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation to participate in the campaign conduct forums may contact Jett Conn, 500 South Duval Street, Tallahassee 32399, 850-922-5109, [email protected], as far in advance of the forums as possible, preferably allowing at least five working days to make necessary arrangements. Persons using a TDD may contact Conn through the Florida Relay Service, 711.

JUDICIAL CAMPAIGN CONDUCT FORUMS

•  Jacksonville, May 5, Duval County Courthouse, 501 W. Adams Street.

• Miami, May 5, Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse Center, 175 NW 1st Avenue, 11th Floor Conference Room.

• Tallahassee, May 5, Leon County Courthouse, 301 South Monroe Street, Courtroom 3G.

• West Palm Beach, May 5, Palm Beach County Courthouse, 205 North Dixie Highway, Judicial Dining Room.

• Tampa, May 6, George Edgecomb County Courthouse, 800 East Twiggs Street, Judicial Conference Room – Sixth Floor.

• Orlando, May 6, Orange County Courthouse, 425 North Orange Avenue, Suite 2310 (Gene Medina Conference Room).

• Ft. Lauderdale, May 6, Broward County Judicial Complex, 201 SE 6th Street.

• ZoomStatewide Webinar Registration.

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