Is it proper for the City Attorney to represent defendants in the County Court in the county where the city is located?
Our mayor is a defense attorney who regularly represents defendants in County, Court at Law, and District courts. Such representation is proper in that he doesn't represent any defendants who are arrested by the local PD, only SO and DPS. In his case the conflict with PD is readily apparent since he's got some modicum of control over things like their budget and the police chief.
The question is- does your city attorney have any similar relationship that would lead to a conflict of interest? If the City Attorney prosecutes cases in municipal court based on violations or provides legal guidance to the city Police Department, then I'd say that representing defendants in county court is improper. If the City Attorney steers clear of cases filed by the local PD, then he's probably in the clear ethically. Now, whether that might be breaking any city employment rules is another matter entirely...
Thanks Brody. I was thinking along those same lines. He prosecutes city cases every Tuesday. Thanks for the input.
Probably correct, although the concerns expressed in this Opinion regarding moonlighting municipal judges may help:
Opinion 541 (2002)
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