The Florida Bar

Ethics Opinion

Opinion 60-13

October 14, 1960
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
It is improper for a lawyer who is county prosecutor to defend those accused of crimes even
though he does so only in counties or circuits other than the one in which he prosecutes.

ABA 16, 30, 72, 136, 192

Chairman Holcomb stated the opinion of the committee:
The Committee is requested to decide whether a lawyer could ethically
represent clients in criminal actions being tried in counties or circuits other than
his own.
Drinker on Legal Ethics, page 118, holds that “A county attorney, in charge of
prosecuting crimes in his county, should not, while in office, undertake to obtain a pardon for
one convicted of crime in his county. . . .” ABA Opinion 136. A public prosecutor in one state
may not properly defend a person accused of crime in another state (ABA Opinion 30). A partner
of a prosecuting attorney may not defend one accused of crime in another county (ABA
Opinions 16, 192). A law firm cannot properly accept any employment which one of its partners
cannot properly accept (ABA Opinion 72).
Although there is one dissent, the remainder of the Committee agree that representation
of one accused of a crime in another county than his own by a County Prosecutor would be
unethical conduct.