Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Anonymous was good enough to post this on the message board this morning:

From Today's DBR:The Miami-Dade state attorney’s office has launched a criminal investigation into whether the judicial assistant to a Miami-Dade County Court judge extorted judges to get them to hire him as a campaign consultant. According to sources close to the investigation, Richard Scruggs, special assistant for public corruption at the office, is looking into that charge as well as charges that Juan D’Arce, judicial assistant to Judge Ivan Hernandez, did private consulting work while on his judicial assistant job. ...

Sources said prosecutors seized D’Arce’s computer as part of the investigation, which D’Arce denies. ...

Bob Levy, campaign consultant to a handful of judges up for re-election, said several of his judicial clients were called by D’Arce. “He said if they didn’t hire him, he would run someone against them,” Levy said. “People feel in fear. This is extortion and intimidation.” D’Arce, 34, acknowledged in an interview that he has worked for judicial candidates in past years, including Diane Ward, Judy Rubenstein, Peter Adrien, Gabriel Martin and Ivan Fernandez, and has set up a corporation to do political consulting, called Pericles. “It’s from Greek mythology — he invented the voting system,” D’Arce said.

But D’Arce insists that he has never contacted a judge, asked for money or done work while at the courthouse. “This is a smear campaign,” he said. “Yeah, I dislike some judges and would like to see them out. But I have every right to do this on my own time. I get approached by people all the time.” One candidate who recently hired D’Arce is Juan F. Gonzalez, who is running against County Court Judge Steven Leifman. Gonzalez said D’Arce “works with me, he’s helping me.” ... He said he only does political work on his own time, and only sometimes asks for pay.

He said he is being targeted because many in the legal community believe he writes the anonymous blog, justicebuilding.blogspot, which he insists he does not. ...

For his part, Judge Ivan Hernandez, for whom D’Arce works, said he has no problem with D’Arce working for political candidates on his own time “as long as he doesn’t use my office. And he hasn’t.” “I don’t think it’s against the law,” Hernandez said. “He has a constitutional right … to freedom of speech.”

Rumpole replies: We watched with detached bemusement as this story hit the blog and message boards. But for this two bit political wannabe to try and say that anybody would think D’Arce has the ability to write this blog….which if nothing else is written by an attorney with at least a modicum of intelligence and wit…well that really frosts our ass a little bit.

We may not be much more than a Justice Building Hack, but we like to think this blog has, at least at times, exhibited some nice writing, some funny lines, and some thoughtful comments on important issues like civil rights, the death penalty (which admittedly have bored readers to tears ) and Rory Stein’s snack habits. For this self important JA to allege that anyone would think he would have the inclination, imagination, and mental acuity to write some of the pieces we have written, well, we hope he gets what’s coming to him.

D’Arce appears to be living in somewhat of a fantasy world, believing he is a mover, shaker, intimidator of Judges, and sought after political consultant. Only someone living in a fantasy world would believe for one moment that the stuff we print here is important enough to merit an investigation. (Although we have kept a wary eye out for former Judge Milian because of our comments that her husband sought to become a judge just to be able to order her around.) But outside of her, we are under no illusions that our humble little blog serves any greater purpose than to allow some members of the Miami criminal legal community to discuss the issues in our little world [ and to allow free political advertisement for Judge Shelly Schwartz. But we love Shelly, so we post his stuff even though we know what he’s up to. ]

In summary, we cherish our anonymity, but if someone is going to try and take credit for our blog, we’d rather it be Roy Black or Stephen Hawkings, not some dimwitted dofus.

See You In Court.


Cream rises said...

I have known Juan Darce for over 10 years and the man is no Turd Burglar. Rumpole, are stealing the shit? Will you submit to a fucking DNA test like Naftally? Juan is a good guy who overcame his dependency on thieving turd lox, now he's helping to prosecute some of the worst shit stealers in the state, and you want to bash him? Shame!!!

trash said...

Mr. D'arce gets away with his bullying and small-time extortion because he has been allowed to. I agree with Rumpole in the assertion that Mr. D'arce hasn't the intelligence to run this blog. He got, as the southerners say, "too big for his britches" and got caught. Whether this will result in prosecution or dismissal remains to be seen.

Anonymous said...

it did strike me as bizzare that this guy would think that anyone would believe that he was responsible for creating such a clever blog. but Rumpole, you are being sorta harsh on this guy. could your prosecutorial roots be getting the best of you?

Anonymous said...

Hey Jason, where were you?

Anonymous said...

Phil, if you and this guy are friends why are acting like some pretend Mafia guy when he comes to your house to discuss this? He, like a lot of folks, thought you were Rumpy and so, since you all are friends, came over to ask you why you're fucking him. Is that really a reason to threaten to kill the guy? If I thought a friend of mine was causing me problems, I'd confront him about, too. Stop the fake Hype.

Rumpole said...

We claim to be REG insiders, but are mystified about the cursing about Naftally. Who is he/she and what is that about. Also, can we be a little bit more civil and grown up here and dispense with the cursing? Isn't it more intellectually fun and stimulating to take a shot at someone without cursing? For instance, when Rory Stein said to the DBR that, in effect, we are liars, instead of calling him a name, we responded "Put down that Danish Mr. Stein and say exactly what we have lied about." The point is that "turd" this, "asshole" that just seems like it belongs on some highschool blog (or the judicial email system) but not here.

Anonymous said...

What about Fuckbird? That's kinda clever, right?

Anonymous said...

Naftally is a large red head atty who often wears his tie around his neck not his shirt and can been seen in the pickel barrel in the morning eating danish with the infamous Mr. Stein.

Phil Reizenstein said...

As I said on a previous post: I AM NOT FRIENDS WITH THIS D'ARCE. Also, maybe you are missing what occurred. If he knocked on my door, spoke with Jackie, and said "Hey, I'm in trouble, can you help me?" We would have opened our home to him, despite the fact I don't really know him. But instead, he came storming over, banging on our door like a lunatic, and started yelling at Jackie that he was under investigation, that I hadn't returned his phone calls, and demanded to see me. You know what? I am not acting like a mafia tough guy (which I am not and never pretended to be). I am acting like a pissed off man who had his home disturbed by some jerkoff. I don't like or apporve of violence. But I told him in no uncertain terms that he risks me losing my temper if he comes to my house again for any reason under any circumstances. Is vioence the answer to almost any problem? No. And I advise clients of that every day. Under a clear head, if he came by again, I should call the police. But, when it comes to family, and my child, sometimes people don't always have a clear head. And he should understand that very very clearly.
Phil R

Anonymous said...

When I read that D'Arce said he was targeted on Suspicion of Being Rumpole (SOBR), I nearly dropped my danish I was laughing so hard. But Rory was nearby, so I thought better of it.

Anonymous said...

My apologies, Phil. I had heard that youknew the guy already.

Anonymous said...

"Dispense with the cursing" Why? Just words, not our fault some folks in society think they're bad words. I don't.

Anonymous said...

it is ironic that brummer would whine about this guy to Joan F. when 4 of his brass were fined by the FCC for doing the samething. Moreover, the FCC were an inch away from charging him with the same. sometimes rump, it's o.k. to use the word turd.

Sam I Am said...

Mr. Trash:

D'Arce has been a "political consultant" since 2004. Farina, I. Hernandez, and everyone else knew what he was doing. The result? Nothing. Why should now be any different.

But let's take another tack. If D'Arce can be a judicial consultant in his spare time, so can a slew of other court employees. And let's face it, if Farina's JA calls you up late on a Sunday night to see if you need "consulting", I would HIGHLY recommend paying up.

trash said...

Attention Blogsters: From today's Miami Herald

A political question in judge's chambers
Juan F. D'Arce Jr., judicial assistant to Miami-Dade County Judge Ivan Hernandez, is under investigation. The Miami-Dade state attorney's office is looking into allegations that D'Arce runs political campaigns out of the judge's chambers during work hours, and uses strong-arm tactics to line up business.
D'Arce, 34, earns $35,500 at his court job at the South Dade Justice Center. Duties include answering the phone and helping to set the judge's motion calendar.
''He's very capable and smart,'' Hernandez says. ``He's probably overqualified.''
D'Arce is also president of Pericles International Enterprises, a consulting firm.
In 2004, Barbara Areces, a candidate for circuit judge, paid $3,350 to Pericles International when she ran against incumbent Judge D. Bruce Levy, according to Areces' campaign finance report. Areces won.
Another judicial candidate, Judith Rubenstein, paid $5,600 to Pericles International when she ran against Valerie Manno in 2004. Rubenstein won.
Attorney Gabriel Martin paid Pericles $300 when he ran against Miami-Dade Public Defender Bennett Brummer in 2004. Martin lost.
D'Arce says he has done nothing improper. His lawyer, Henry Ferro, a former Miami-Dade circuit judge now in private practice in Ocala, says D'Arce is entitled to work as a political consultant. ``He doesn't use state time; he's not sneaking around.''
In his Pericles role, D'Arce ''gives advice to people for races to get involved in,'' Ferro explains.
``If he wants to be involved in campaigns, that's up to him. We still live in a democracy, and people are entitled to support or assist -- for pay or otherwise -- the candidate of their choice.''
Judge Hernandez also defends D'Arce, saying he does not do consulting work on court time. ``He has a constitutional right to do certain jobs outside, as long as he doesn't use my office to further his business.''
Others think D'Arce's sideline presents a conflict. Among them: Gerald Kogan, former chief justice of Florida's Supreme Court, a former Miami-Dade circuit judge and ex-president of the Alliance for Ethical Government. ''This has the appearance of impropriety,'' Kogan says. Besides, it could create ``ill will and bad feelings amongst the judges he's campaigning against.''
Says Kogan: 'If I had a JA who did that, he or she would cease and desist immediately. And if I were chief judge, I would immediately go to their judge and say, `I want it stopped now, or I'm going to fire him.' ''
Bonnie Williams, executive director of the Florida Commission on Ethics, says it is against the law to use state time, property or resources to work another job. The law also says a worker may not ``hold any employment or contractual relationship that will create a continuing or frequently recurring conflict between his or her private interests and the performance of his or her public duties. . . . ''
In 2004, Chief Judge Joseph Farina received two letters about D'Arce. One was from Brummer, who suggested D'Arce's work ``may have directly or indirectly involved [his] use of his position as a judicial assistant.''
Another was from judicial candidate Don Cohn, who complained of ''improper election involvement by judicial staff.'' Cohn says D'Arce pressured him to drop out of a four-way race, and even called his home on qualifying day -- three times in 15 minutes -- to say he should withdraw. Cohn ran anyway, but came in last.
''Furthermore, because of the nature of my practice . . . concentrating in criminal defense, during my campaign my secretary on several occasions found it necessary to call Judge Hernandez's office to set down hearings for motions,'' Cohn wrote. 'During those times, and on several occasions, Mr. D'Arce would tell my secretary I was going to lose the election. . . . Not only do his actions make it `uncomfortable' to say the least to practice in front of his judge, but . . . may very well be in violation of not only ethical standards but possibly the law.''
Responds Ferro: ``There is no violation.''
(Cohn is running again -- he filed against County Judge Bonnie Rippingille.)
Linda Kelly Kearson, general counsel for the 11th judicial circuit, declined to discuss how Farina handled the complaints.
D'Arce, who moved to Miami from Nicaragua at age 8, says he plans to apply to law school.

trash said...

Sam, please see above article.

Anonymous said...

Another example of the State's inability to prosecute anyone of
consequence. I'm sure they'll do
a great job investigating and
prosecuting a nobody like D'Arce,
but give them a real player like
Brummer to investigate and they
pass the buck every time.

Campaigning while on State time.
Let's talk about PD's being approached in the office and asked
to sign endorsements. Or how about
Brummer storing twenty 10 by 5
campaign signs inside the PD's Office for 10 years. Or how about having office wide meetings during work hours to discuss campaign plans and logistics. These are all
documented things which Brummer did
and yet no SAO investigation.

They love to pick on the little guy at the Dade SAO.

Sam I Am said...

Just for kicks, here is the Miami-Dade Lions Membership roster:

Juan F. D’Arce, Jr., President
Lazaro “Laz” J. Lopez, Esq.
Leticia Ibarra, Treasurer
Maria C. Prieto, Secretary
Mark Steinberg, Esq.

Andres Nodarse
Emiliano Antunez
Gabriel Martin, Esq.
Isaac Cardona
Hon. Ivan Hernandez
Jacqueline “Jackie” Bahr
Josefa “Josie” M. Velis, Esq.
Hon. Jeffrey Rosinek
Luis “Big Louie” Ayala
Hon. Maria Espinosa Dennis
Nelson Poll
Paola Alegria
Raquel Morrison
Rolando “Roly” S. Castellanos
Sara Regalado
Sharon P. Ragoonan
Officer Wanda Mendez
Yoel Molina, Esq

Anonymous said...

if your right then this whole thing stinks. brummer is democrat just like rundle. juan is a republican and he gets investigated. now he is under investigation? i hate all these politicians!

trash said...

sam, ok, he's prez of the Lion's club, and.......?

Anonymous said...

"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!"
- Barry Goldwater

trash said...

Judicial code of conduct:

21-200. A judge shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all the judge's activities.

A. Respect for the law. A judge shall respect and comply with the law and shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

B. Impartiality. A judge shall not allow family, social, political or other relationships to influence the judge's judicial conduct or judgment. A judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interest of the judge or others; nor should a judge convey or permit others subject to the judge's direction and control to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge. A judge shall not testify voluntarily as a character witness.

C. Membership in organizations. A judge shall not hold membership in any organization that practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion or national origin

Sam I Am said...

The Judicial Code of Conduct does not apply to J.A.s

trash said...

Sam: See B. ...A judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interest of the judge or others; nor should a judge convey or permit others subject to the judge's direction and control to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge.

Even if the Judge did not overtly do so, his participation is inferred.

Sam I Am said...

As for posting D'Arce's membership in the Miami-Dade Lions, I am only attempting to understand where he is coming from. He acquired leadership positions amongst the College Republicans and the Miami-Dade Lions...and yet he's a judicial assistant to a county court judge. It just doesn't add up.

trash said...

Sam, what doesn't add up? The fact he is an active member of the Republican Party? In his business it would be an asset, if he did not confine his consulting to the elected Judiciary. Think about it, wouldn't it look good on the resume?

Sam I Am said...

Just to be clear, Trash, the very limited facts suggest to me a person who is intentionally acquiring "power" and who is intentionally conveying the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judiciary. This leaves open the question...now what?

Farina can't do anything. Only Hernandez can fire D'Arce.

21-200 is irrelevant to D'Arce, who is not a judge, even it might put Ivan in hot water. But Ivan doesn't seem worried. His reported comments do not suggest he believe D'Arce has crossed the line. (even if you and I are inclined to think he has).

As I said previously, D'Arce was confronted in 2004 with virtually identically charges, and Ivan Hernandez stood by him. I see the same scenario playing out.

The only difference, is that I forsee a whole bunch of J.A.'s joining the shakedown under the guise of free, political speech.

Sam I Am said...

Being an active Republican is irrelevant. What's strange is that he's a J.A.

Anonymous said...

Leifman is so full of shit. he says, " The judiciary prides itself on being free of bias and impropriety. I think this would send the wrong message to the public, and I don't think any judge would want to be associated with this." Judge, what about your peddling JA making it seem that something weird also happens in your office. Please.you just lost my vote and D'Arce has nothing to do with it.

Anonymous said...

Leifman. Why don't you respond about the JAPS matter and put it to rest. did you do anything about this activity or are you above rebuke and need not answer?

Ivan Hernandez

Anonymous said...

And I'm Ivan Hernandez too!

Anonymous said...

being a republican is relevant. why an investigation here but none against brummer who is a dem.? perhaps you don't get it. pictures were taken of thousands of dollars worth of POLITICAL signs, banners etc which were being stored inside the PDO. THEY WERE THEIR BY BRUMMERS OWN ADMISSION FOR 10 YEARS. IS PDO THE PUBLICS LAW OFFICE OR A PERPETUAL POLTICAL HEADQUARTERS FOR BHB?

trash said...

Sam, yes, the code of conduct does not apply to JAs.

The problem here is "nor should a judge convey or permit others subject to the judge's direction and control to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge."

Because Juan (in theory)is subject to the Judge's direction, Judge Hernandez will be perceived as having allowed this activity.

Because it will reflect on the Judiciary, would it not behoove Chief Judge Farina to take whatever action is necessary?

Whether or not Juan is charged, this will reflect badly on Judge Hernandez.

trash said...

Anon, if Brummer has done the same thing, to the "nth" degree, then he should be fired. What is good for one is good for all.

Sam I Am said...

Do you here me excusing Brummer? No. Have I mentioned Brummer? No.

The salient point in noting that D'Arce was president of the FIU College Republicans was that he was president. It would be the same if he were president of the FIU College Democrats. Now...lots of people want to be president of something...and being president of something shows ambition and political skill. So what does our ambitious and politically skilled student become? A J.A. And when I see that D'Arce is a J.A., making 35k a year, things take on a different tint. One might argue D'Arce chose to become a J.A. with the intention of creating a political consultancy by purposefully conveying the impression that he was in a special position to influence the judge and judiciary.

Sam I Am said...

trash said...
Sam, yes, the code of conduct does not apply to JAs.

The problem here is "nor should a judge convey or permit others subject to the judge's direction and control to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge."

Because Juan (in theory)is subject to the Judge's direction, Judge Hernandez will be perceived as having allowed this activity. ---AGREED

Because it will reflect on the Judiciary, would it not behoove Chief Judge Farina to take whatever action is necessary? ---AGREED. But D'Arce is employed by Hernandez, not Farina. Farina could stamp his feet, but the call remains with Hernandez

Whether or not Juan is charged, this will reflect badly on Judge Hernandez. ---AGREED

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

It is beyond me how ANYONE can compare a single mom JA selling perfume to make a few extra bucks during the holiday season to a JA -- allegedly -- extorting judge wannabes into hiring him. As Jimmy Johnson used to say: pulleezzee.

Anonymous said...

Brummer is the world's biggest(!) hypocrite. Snitch like a bitch on ,let's face it, pretty minor-league stuff, while he acts like the PDo is his private fiefdom. For 12 months, all he and his danish-eating, wig-wearing mediocrities did was campaign using the office in every way one can possibly imagine. KFR ignores that, and investigates a 35k/yr nobody.Nice leadership, Kathy. Real courage.

Anonymous said...

just selling perfums, Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese. It still stinks like shit. Don't excuse this in this manner. It was cheeeeeeeeeeeeeezy and that's that.

Anonymous said...

I don't have the time or energy to say anything witty about this asshole. He is a delusional prick and Hernandez is a prick for keeping him around as long as he did. Hernandez reminds me of the wife who never suspected her husband was banging the daughter all those years.

Anonymous said...

no no, hernandez knew the husband was banging the daughter, he was just to scared to confront it - why?

that's the question that needs to be asked. Maybe it will be asked this fall if he gets opposition. (Yep - Hernandez is up this year)

Although I hear Hernandez has a good consultant who's excellent at trying to manipulate elections.

Anonymous said...

Mr D Arce needs to do the manly thing and resign. He is embarrassing the Judiciary and his friend Judge Ivan looks like a fool. Hope you are getting your cookies off Juan. You are an idiot.

Rumpole said...

Rumpole replies to the comment about being too harsh on D'Arce:
1) what in the world ever made you believe we used to be a prosecutor?
2) You might be right. We got upset when D'Arce started telling people he was being persecuted for writing the blog. Please feel free to hold our feet to the fire. If we step over the line, we want to be called on it, and will be the first to admit our mistake. D'Arce, is innocent until proven guilty. But, we can say, we don't like the fact that he was campaigning against Judge Leifman, even though he may have the right to do so. We say "may" because its an "iffy" question as to whether JA's should be able to run political consulting companies. So although D'Arce just rubs us the wrong way for lots of reasons, we will hold back on the rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

Rump - you sadden me today - You have always advocated ethics on the blog. It seems to have worked, except for an occasional discussion about the "foul" named bird.

So what ever caused you to say that "its an "iffy" question as to whether JA's should be able to run political consulting companies.?"

Is it "iffy" whether clerks at the DMV should be able to run driving schools?

The only reason this is even a debate is because it's Dade County, where ethics in politics and government is the exception

Anonymous said...

early on you told us that you were a prosecutor under Reno. That is where we got it from. did you lie to us?

trash said...

Sam: interesting point about the ambitions comment...That never occured to me. One can just imagine the client base...

Sam I Am said...

Anonymous wrote: "[Rumpole,] you have always advocated ethics on the blog....what ever caused you to say that "its an "iffy" question as to whether JA's should be able to run political consulting companies.?"

I don't want to put words in Rumpole's mouth, but your question confuses two issues.
1) Whether its ethical for a JA to run a judicial consulting company on the side, and
2) Whether its unlawful for a JA to run a judicial consulting company on the side.

I don't think the first question is in doubt. But the second question, (legality), is what remains "iffy."

Rumpole said...

Are you sure we said that? We recall others saying that about us....hmm..one things for sure---other than denying SOBR in person, we don't lie. In fact, we feel truly awful when we lie to our closest friends denying our responsibility for the blog. Only our goldfish knows.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole, you said in a DEC. Post that you worked for Reno. Stop freaking out, and admit it. Do you think that gives you away a little too easily? As for Jaun D., his only "crime" seems to be running someone agaianst Leifman-- all the other shit was from '04 , so why is that being called up now? Leifman.

Anonymous said...

Yo Rump!

I know everyone has a opinion and I am not going to add one here. But I will share a little bit of legal research with you fine folks. Seems D'Arce and Hernandez may have the Supreme Court on their side. If you read 'till the end, you'll notice even Farina was aware of this fact and why no action was taken.

July 13, 1993

Opinion 93-45
(Canon 7 - Political Activity by Judicial Law Clerks

Re: Committee on Standard of Conduct Governing Judges inquiry


Some time ago you requested a written advisory opinion from this Committee regarding certain political activities of judicial trial law clerks. These activities were to be pursued during the clerk's personal time. Your questions were as follows:

1. Opinion 91-23 and a subsequent opinion state the Code of Judicial Conduct governs the conduct of judicial assistants. Does the Code of Judicial Conduct govern the conduct of judicial trial court law clerks?

2. Even if the Code of Judicial Conduct governs the conduct of judicial trial court law clerks, may judicial trial court law clerks participate in a city/state/federal partisan election campaign or in a judicial election campaign by:

a. contributing financial support to a candidate in a city/state/federal partisan election campaign or to a candidate in a judicial election campaign.

b. soliciting financial support for a candidate in a city/state/federal partisan election campaign or for a candidate in a judicial election campaign.

c. making in kind contributions of goods to a candidate in a city/state/federal partisan election campaign or for a candidate in a judicial election campaign.

d. attending fund raising activities for a candidate in a city/state/federal partisan election campaign or for a candidate in a judicial election campaign.

e. aiding the campaign staff of a candidate in a city/state/federal partisan election campaign or for a candidate in a judicial election campaign by:

1. contacting persons in the community at random by telephone encouraging them to vote for a particular candidate.

2. contacting persons in the community and encouraging them to vote for a particular candidate.

3. distributing campaign information to persons in the community.

4. addressing and filling envelopes in order to support the candidate's mailing efforts.

5. providing personal transportation for the candidate to and from campaign events.

6. providing personal transportation for persons in the community to enable them to vote on election day.

7. attending a campaign event on election night once the polls have closed.

The Florida Supreme Court in a letter to the Committee dated 24 September 1992, advised the Committee as follows on the subject:

The Court discussed (in conference 9-8-92) opinion 92-33 of the Committee on Standards of Conduct Concerning Judges which states that a judicial assistant is prohibited by canon 7B from participating in partisan political activity. The justices expressed the view that the opinion raised serious First Amendment implications with respect to the rights of judicial assistants to express themselves. The justices believe that in this respect a judicial assistant occupies a position analogous to a spouse who is expressly permitted by the commentary to canon 7B to engage in political activity, provided it is done in the name of the individual family member and independent of the judge and without reference to the judge or the judge's office. While canon 7B(1) (b) prohibits employees subject to the judge's direction or control from doing what the judge is prohibited from doing, , in this context the justices interpret this provision to mean that a judicial assistant may not act as the judge's representative in any partisan political activity. It is the unanimous opinion of the Court that a judicial assistant or other employee subject to the judge's direction or control may not be prohibited from engaging in partisan political activity during personal time, provided such activity is conducted entirely independent of the judge and without reference to the judge of judge's office. The Court requested the clerk to notify the committee of its view in this matter.

Individual committee members have offered the following comments on your inquiry.

One committee member states the Florida Supreme Court's letter does not prohibit partisan political activity by a law clerk provided it is conducted during personal time and provided that such activity "is conducted entirely independent of the judge and without reference to the judge and the judge's office." This member believes that a case-by-case determination has to be made whether the circumstances of a clerk's partisan political activity reflects on the judge or the judge's office.

In particular, this member believes a law clerk could contribute to a partisan political candidate, attend fund raising activities and aid the campaign staff of a partisan political candidates provided the law clerk not use any information obtained from judicial employment as a basis for determining which persons will be solicited for support.

Further, this member does not believe a law clerk should personally solicit financial support for a political candidate. This member believes there is too great a danger that political contributions will be given in response to solicitation by a judge's law clerk or judicial assistant in the belief the contribution will result in a favorable response when a request is made to the court. For example, a political contribution to a judicial assistant's solicitation could result in an earlier hearing date.

This member concludes that every judge should discuss with the judge's staff at the time of hiring the limitations that are placed on the judge by the code of Judicial conduct and what the judge expects from the staff in this regard. Nothing inadvertently implies any judicial involvement with political activity should be allowed.

Another member agrees with the Florida Supreme Court that judges cannot regulate the political activity of their employees anymore that they could regulate the political activity of judicial spouses.

Four members state they do not believe that judicial assistants and law clerks are subject to the Code of Judicial conduct.

One member suggests the Florida Supreme Court issue a code of conduct (written ethical principles) for law clerks and judicial assistants. He suggests the model code of conduct for nonjudicial employees published in Judicature, Vol. 73/No.3 Oct.-Nov. 1989, page 138 by the American Judicature Society can be used as a guide or the basis of the chief judge's administrative order to guide employees.

In addition this member believes the following articles would be helpful as reference:

Ethical Conduct of Non Judicial Employees: A Proposed Model Code by David Ozar, Cynthia Kelly and Yvette Begue, Judicature, Vol. 73/No.3 Oct. 1989, page 126.

Ethical Conduct of State Court Employees and Administrators: The Search for Standards, Judicature, Vol. 71/No. 5, Feb. 1988.

Judicial Staff and Ethical Conduct by Scott Makar, The Florida Bar Journal, Vol. LXIV, No 10 Nov. 199,[sic] page 10.

The "Other" Code of Ethics--The Code for Judicial Conduct; the Unique Ethical Problems of Lawyers Who Work For The Courts, by Judge Anne C. Booth - a CLE lecture outline in Government Lawyer Ethics published by the Governmental Lawyer Section of The Florida Bar, Oct. 1992.

The Committee is expressly charged with rendering advisory opinions interpreting the application of the Code of Judicial Conduct to specific circumstances confronting or affecting a judge or judicial candidate. Its opinions are advisory to the inquiring party, to the Judicial Qualifications Commission and to the judiciary at large. Conduct that is consistent with an advisory opinion issued by the committee may be evidence of good faith on the part of the judge, but the Judicial Qualifications Commission is not bound by the interpretive opinions issued by the committee. Petition of the Committee on Standards of Conduct for Judges, 327 So2d 5 ( Fla.1976).

Sincerely yours,

Harvey Goldstein, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges


cc: All Committee Members
Office of State Court Administrator (name of Judge deleted from this copy)

Participating members: Judges Booth, Dell, Doughtie ,Green, Levy, Farina, Goldstein, Rushing, Tolton and Clarke, Esq.

Judge Rob Pineiro said...

Term limits for judges?! I've been publicly wearing my robe for over 16 years and still learn something new everyday (yeah,I know I leave myself open for:"Given how little he knew in the first place, he needs the time!")Nevertheless, d'y'all want a musical chair judiciary or an experienced and committed one?(I'll leave the commitment venue up to you) Judge Pineiro

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the research, Anaonymous, however, it does not address paid campaign consulting.

ACS said...

Sam I Am, there is another reason why D'Arce could have decided to be a JA. D'Arce wants to go to law school, right? Maybe D'Arce was simply biding the time, working as a JA, until LSAT scores could be brought up. Some people are really bad on standardized tests, including people from another country, perhaps who grew up with English as a second language like D'Arce may have.

Still, I am wary of any JAs taking money to advise judges campaigning for a position. Appointment by the executive with approval of the legislative sounds like the best way to select judges, with retention elections after appointment.

Someone said...

Screw Juan. I've known that guy for a while and all her cares about is his own well-being.

Anonymous said...

Sad how racist and sad this article truly is. Smear campaigning is the way the judiciary has turned. It is now four years from this smear campaign and nothing happened aside from the political agenda of a bunch of corrupt politicians.

Sad state of affairs.