Opinion 87-17

January 28, 1988


Topic:          Appearance of private attorneys who also are part-time village officials in village court, representing private litigants


Digest:         Questions as posed cannot be answered by Committee because they primarily relate to professional rather than judicial ethics


Rules:          Code (Canons) of Professional Responsibility


         A village justice inquires as to the appropriateness of an attorney who also is an elected trustee (1) to appear in village court representing a defendant in a criminal case, (2) a member of such attorney’s law firm making such appearance; and (3) to appear in village court in criminal matters where charges were filed by the village police department.

         Upon consideration, the Committee concludes that these questions, as they are formulated, relate primarily to professional ethics rather than judicial ethics and, therefore, are not within the scope of this Committee’s authority to answer. However, the Advisory Committee does not agree with a view stated in the letter of inquiry that the Mayor or a village trustee or a member of the Village Board is the “employer” of the village justice.