ETHICAL AND PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY RULES
FOR LAWYERS AND JUDGES
Comment: There are many sources of such information and this will
recite only a small amount.
- The Code of Judicial Conduct from the Florida Bar Journal/September
1997, states as follows:
- Our legal system is based on the principle that an independent fair
and competent judiciary will interpret and apply the laws that govern us.
The role of the judiciary is central to American concepts of justice and
the rule of law. Intrinsic to all sections of this Code are the precepts
that judges, individually and collectively, must respect and honor the
judicial office as a public trust and strive to enhance and maintain
confidence in our legal system. The judge is an arbiter of facts and law
for the resolution of disputes and a highly visible symbol of government
under the rule of law.
- CANON 1: A JUDGE SHALL UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY AND INDEPENDENCE OF THE
- --An independent and honorable judiciary is indispensable to justice
in our society. A judge should participate in establishing, maintaining,
and enforcing high standards of conduct, and shall personally observe
those standards so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary
may be preserved. The provisions of this Code should be constructed and
applied to further than objective.
- CANON 2: A JUDGE SHALL AVOID IMPROPRIETY AND THE APPEARANCE OF
IMPROPRIETY IN ALL OF THE JUDGE'S ACTIVITIES
- --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.
- CANON 3: A JUDGE SHALL PERFORM THE DUTIES OF JUDICIAL OFFICE
IMPARTIALLY AND DILIGENTLY
- A. Judicial duties in general:
- The judicial duties of a judge take precedence over all the judge's
other activities. The judge's judicial duties include all the duties of
the judge's office prescribed by law. In the performance of these duties,
the specific standards set forth in the following sections apply:
- 3D. Disciplinary responsibilities:
- (1) A judge who receives information or has actual knowledge that
substantial likelyhood exists that another judge has committed a violation
of this Code shall take appropriate action.
- (2) A judge who receives information or has actual knowledge that
substantial likelyhood exists that a lawyer has committed a violation of
the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar shall take appropriate action.
- (3) Acts of a judge, in the discharge of disciplinary
responsibilities, required or permitted by sections 3D(1) and 3D(2) are
part of a judge's judicial duties and shall be absolutely privileged, and
no civil action predicated thereon may be instituted against the judge.
- The following is taken from "Rules Regulating the Florida Bar", from
the Florida Bar Journal/September 1997:
- Chapter 4. RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
- --Lawyers are officers of the court and they are responsible to the
judiciary for the propriety of their professional activities. Within that
context, the legal profession has been granted powers of self government.
Self regulation helps maintain the legal profession's independence from
undue government domination. An independent legal profession is an
important force in preserving government under law, for abuse of legal
authority is more readily challenged by a profession whose members are not
dependent upon the executive and legislative branches of government for
the right to practice. Supervision by an independent judiciary, and
conformity with the rules the judiciary adopts for the profession, assures
both independence and responsibility.
- Thus, every lawyer is responsible for observance of the rules of
Professional Conduct. A lawyer should also aid in securing their
observance by other lawyers. Neglect of these responsibilities compromises
the independence of the profession and the public interest that it
- Rule 4-3.8 SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF A PROSECUTOR
- The prosecutor in a criminal case shall:
- (a) refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not
supported by probable cause;
- (c) make timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence or
information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the
accused or mitigates the offense, and, in connection with sentencing,
disclose to the defense and to the tribunal all unprivileged mitigating
information known to the prosecutor--.
- Rule 4-8.3 REPORTING PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT
- (a) Reporting misconduct of other lawyers: A lawyer having knowledge
that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional
Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer's honesty,
trustworthyness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects shall inform the
appropriate professional authority.
- (b) Reporting misconduct of judges: A lawyer having knowledge that a
judge has committed a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct
that raises a substantial question as to the judge's fitness for office
shall inform the appropriate authority.
- Comment: Self regulation of the legal profession requires that members
of the profession initiate disciplinary investigation when they know of a
violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct. An apparently isolated
violation may indicate a pattern of misconduct that only a disciplinary
investigation can uncover.
- This rule limits the reporting obligation to those offenses that a
self regulating profession must vigorously endeavor to prevent. A measure
of judgment is therefore required in complying with the provisions of this
- Rule 4-8.4 MISCONDUCT
- A lawyer shall not:
- (a) violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct,
knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of
- (b) commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyers
honesty, trustworthyness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects;
- (c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or
- (d) engage in conduct in connection with the practice of law that is
prejudicial to the administration of justice--
- Comment: --Although a lawyer is personally answerable to the entire
criminal law, a lawyer should be professionally answerable only for
offenses that indicate lack of these characteristics relevant to law
practice. Offenses involving violence, dishonesty, or breach of trust or
serious interference with the administration of justice are in that
category. A pattern of repeated offenses, even ones of minor significance
when considered separately, can indicate indifference to legal
- Flroida Jurisprudence 2d, Attorneys At Law (1994), Sec. 79, States:
- Generally any conduct of a lawyer which brings into scorn and
disrepute the administration of justice constitutes misconduct demanding
condemnation and appropriate penalties. The Rules of Discipline set forth
in the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar provide that commission by a
lawyer of any act that is unlawful or contrary to honesty and justice,
whether the act is committed in the course of the attorney's relations as
an attorney or otherwiwse, whether committed within or without the State
of Florida, and whether a felony or misdemeanor, may constitute a cause
- Violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct as set forth in the
rules governing the Florida Bar is a cause for discipline. And the Rules
of Professional Conduct provide that a lawyer may not-- engage in conduct
involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.
- Section 81 States:
- The Rules of Discipline set forth in the Rules Regulating the Florida
Bar provide that the commission by a lawyer of any act that is unlawful or
contrary to honesty and justice constitutes cause for discipline, even
though the act is not committed in the course of his relations as an
- Attorneys have been subject to professional discipline for:
- issuing checks returned for insufficient funds;
- requesting that his legal secretary tell a state trooper not to appear
at the attorney's civil infraction trial for a speeding ticket.
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