In re Shepard, Docket No. 14-488, No. SC 15-1746 (Fla.) May 4, 2017.
Judicial candidate Shepard did a bit of selective editing of her endorsements, incurring the opprobrium of the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission, resulting in a three month suspension without pay, costs, and a public reprimand.
Judge Shepard lodged First Amendment facial and as applied challenges to the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct’s prohibitions against knowing misrepresentation concerning one’s own or an opponent’s qualifications.
The Florida Supreme Court failed to find the Code’s proscription of known misrepresentation to be so vague to be incomprehensible, nor, in view of Judge Shepard’s tailoring of dated endorsements, was any infirmity found in its application to her case.
That judges campaign, and that politicians campaign, the court observed, does not mean that judges may, in their campaign activities, behave as politicians. Adherence to professional standards cautioning against knowingly making misstatements ensures confidence in the courts.