Kevin Alvarez believes that respect and reverence for ethical decision making is one of the most important qualities of a being a judge. A judge that breaks the ethic’s rules has not only failed the judicial system and the community he/she serves, but should no longer be a judge.
Judicial races are unlike almost all elected official races. This is because partisan politics have no place in judicial elections. As such, there are specific rules that judicial candidates must follow while running their campaigns. These rules are laid out in the Rules of Judicial Conduct commonly referred to as the “Cannons”. Additionally, there is a Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee (“JEAC”) that releases opinions about what conduct is permitted and what conduct is not allowed.
The following are summaries from the JEAC opinions:
- Candidates, including incumbent judges…shall not personally solicit campaign funds or solicit attorneys for publicly stated support.
- Candidates, including incumbent judges, may not call a prospective contributor, engage in some preliminary conversation, and then turn over the phone to a member of the committee of responsible persons who would then make the actual solicitation.
- Candidates, including incumbent judges, should refrain from commenting on their affiliation with any political party or other candidate, and should avoid expressing a position on any political issue
- A judge or candidate’s campaign materials may not include pictures of the judge or candidate with fellow judges, but may include pictures of the judge or candidate with other elected officials, as long as the campaign literature includes a clear disclaimer that the photographs were not taken in connection with the judge’s re-election campaign, and the persons depicted do not necessarily endorse or support the judge.
- Judicial candidates may not publicize the endorsement of a political party, even if that endorsement was given without inviting or interviewing the candidates.
- While a political party may support the candidacy of a judicial candidate, partisan politics should play no role in the candidate’s conducting of his or her campaign.
- A candidate may criticize an opponent if it is fair and truthful, is pertinent and material to the judicial office, is based on factual, not personal, grounds, is not about a pending case, and does not bring the candidate’s impartiality or that of the judiciary into question.
- A judicial candidate may not make promises about how they would rule on cases or issues likely to come before them.
All of these opinions can be found on the sixth judicial circuits website that publishes opinions of the Judicial ethics advisory committee.
Kevin’s opponent, Angela Dempsey, was reprimanded unanimously by the Supreme Court of Florida in her last contested election because her campaign violated the Judicial Cannons of Ethics.
Judges that break the rules should no longer be Judges.