The Florida Bar

May 18, 1971

A city council member may represent a private client in a court other than the municipal court of the municipality for which he is councilman. Neither he nor his associates may put themselves in the position of contesting the evidence of the city police.

Opinions: 60-22, 70-11

Chairman Massey stated the opinion of the committee:

A member of The Florida Bar has been elected to the city council of a Florida municipality. He was requested by clients to represent their children who were arrested by policemen of the same city in which he serves as councilman, charges being filed in the county juvenile court. The inquirer asks in view of Florida Opinion 60-22 [since withdrawn] whether if policemen from his city make the arrest he could then represent a client in juvenile courts, courts of record, or circuit courts when he has no control over the municipal court, its clerks, its bailiffs, or its police officers. Also, he asks if the matter could be referred to an associate of his office if he is precluded from handling the matter.

In answer to the latter portion, the inquirer is advised that what is forbidden to him is forbidden to his partners and associates.

Even assuming the inquirer has no control whatsoever over his police officers, the import of Florida Opinion 60-22, as well as Opinion 70-11 [since withdrawn], is to prohibit the proposed representation in juvenile court. The same conclusion would carry over to courts of record and circuit courts. The Committee can see no reason ethically why the inquirer might not properly appear to enter a plea of guilty in a court other than the municipal court, but certainly while he is on the city council he should not contest the evidence of the police in any court.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]