The Florida Bar
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PROFESSIONAL ETHICS OF THE FLORIDA BAR

OPINION 68-35
July 12, 1968

It would not be appropriate for an associate of a state attorney to accept appointment as counsel for criminal defendants under the provisions of the Federal Indigent Criminal Defense Act or to appear for criminal defendants in the municipal court in his community.

Canon: 6

Chairman MacDonald stated the opinion of the committee:

We are asked by an associate of a state attorney in a metropolitan Florida community whether it would be appropriate for him to accept appointment as counsel for criminal defendants under the provisions of the Federal Indigent Criminal Defense Act and thus appear for the defendant in the United States District Court in his community, and secondly, whether it would be proper for him to participate in the defense of persons charged with violations of municipal ordinances in the local municipal court. Of course, it is evident the state attorney is not the prosecutor in either of the courts mentioned.

It is our opinion that the nexus between the state attorney and the local police is so close in this and other similar metropolitan Florida communities that it would not be appropriate for the inquirer to appear for any defendants in the municipal court. Moreover, there appearing to be no shortage of available counsel to appear for indigent defendants in the United States District Court in question, it would not appear to us to be advisable for the inquirer to accept these appointments.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]