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Judicial Campaign Conduct Forums scheduled for May.

All candidates seeking election as judges or standing for merit retention in 2016 will soon be able to participate in judicial campaign conduct forums offering training in the rules governing election to judicial office.

Sponsored by the Florida Supreme Court 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 12 and 13, at 1 p.m., 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 11 cities across the state. 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 which 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 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 Barbara Lagoa. Given the negative impact that campaign misconduct can have on that confidence, Judge Lagoa noted that the forums serve as reminders to candidates that "the Florida Supreme Court 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 documents.shtml#Judicial. 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: Andru Athens, 500 South Duval Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399, 850-617-1842,, 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 Andru Athens through the Florida Relay Service, 711.

Meetings are scheduled for 1 p.m. in the following locations:

* Pensacola, May 12, M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building, 190 Governmental Center, Courtroom 101.

* Jacksonville, May 12, Duval County Courthouse, 501 W. Adams Street, Chief Judge's Chambers--Room 7139.

* Miami, May 12, Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse Center, 175 NW 1st Avenue, 11th Floor Conference Room.

* Tampa, May 12 Geo. Edgecomb County Courthouse, 800 East Twiggs Street, Sixth Floor Judicial Conference Room.

* West Palm Beach, May 12, Palm Beach County Courthouse, 205 North Dixie Highway, First Floor Judicial Conference Room.

* Tallahassee, May 13, Leon County Courthouse, 301 South Monroe Street, Courtroom 3G.

* Gainesville, May 13, Alachua County Criminal Justice Center, 220 South Main Street, Jury Assembly Room.

* Orlando, May 13, Orange County Courthouse, 425 North Orange Avenue, 23rd Floor Judicial Conference Room.

* Key West, May 13, Freeman Justice Center, 302 Fleming Street, Courtroom A.

* Ft. Lauderdale, May 13, Broward County Judicial Complex, 201 SE 6th Street, Courtroom 510.

* Ft. Myers, May 13, Lee County Justice Center South Entrance, 2075 Martin Luther King Blvd., Courtroom 4-A.
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Publication:Florida Bar News
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Apr 15, 2016
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