The Florida Bar

Ethics Opinion

Opinion 71-12

May 18, 1971
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
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.

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Opinion 60-22 [since withdrawn] whether if policemen from his city make the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of Florida Opinion 60-22, as well as Opinion 70-11 [since withdrawn], is to prohibit the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.