March 11, 1993
Digest: A city court judge may permit the partner of a city attorney to appear for criminal defendants.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §100.2.
A city court judge inquires whether a partner of the city attorney may appear before the judge in representation of criminal defendants. The judge states that the city attorney only appears in court to prosecute violations of city ordinances. A partner of the city attorney appears in the judge’s court as defense counsel in criminal cases. The latter cases, however, are prosecuted by the district attorney’s office and not the city attorney.
In these circumstances it appears that there is no conflict of interest. If, at any time, however, the two jurisdictions become inter-related, for example, in a case involving violation of both the penal law and the city ordinance, it would then be improper for the partner of the city attorney to appear. To do so would create the appearance of impropriety.