Judicial Campaign Conduct Forums scheduled May 7 and 8
All candidates seeking election as judges or standing for merit retention in 2020 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 7 and 8, at 1 p.m. local time, the forums will emphasize the importance of conducting campaigns in compliance with 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 11 cities across the state.
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 court 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 W. Joel Boles. Given the negative impact that campaign misconduct can have on that confidence, Judge Boles 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 at www.floridasupremecourt.org/Opinions/Judicial-Ethics-Advisory-Committee. 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.
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 Jett Conn through the Florida Relay Service, 711.
Meetings are scheduled for 1 p.m. in the following locations, but subject to change after the close of qualifying:
• Pensacola, May 7, M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building, 190 Governmental Center.
• Jacksonville, May 7, Duval County Courthouse, 501 W. Adams Street.
• Miami, May 7, Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse Center, 175 NW 1st Avenue, 11th Floor Conference Room.
• Tampa, May 7, George Edgecomb County Courthouse, 800 East Twiggs Street, Sixth Floor Judicial Conference Room.
• West Palm Beach, May 7, Palm Beach County Courthouse, 205 North Dixie Highway, Judicial Conference Room.
• Tallahassee, May 8, Leon County Courthouse, 301 South Monroe Street, Courtroom 3G.
• Gainesville, May 8, Alachua County Criminal Justice Center, 220 South Main Street, Jury Assembly Room.
• Orlando, May 8, Orange County Courthouse, 425 North Orange Avenue, Suite 2310 (Gene Medina Conference Room).
• Ft. Lauderdale, May 8, Broward County Judicial Complex, 201 SE 6th Street, Courtroom 15150, 15th Floor.
• Ft. Myers, May 8, Lee County Justice Center, 2075 Martin Luther King Blvd., Courtroom 4-B.