116 N.J.L.J. 537
October 24, 1985
Conflict of Interest -
Member of County Board of
Chosen Freeholders Serving
in Various Municipal Capacities
The Office of Attorney Ethics has inquired whether an
attorney, who is a member of the Board of Chosen Freeholders of the
county in which he resides, may also serve as (1) a public defender
for a municipality within the county, (2) an attorney for a
municipal utility authority for another municipality within the
county, and (3) an attorney for the board of adjustment for another
municipality within the county, without raising an impermissible
appearance of conflict of interest.
We have most recently dealt with the Freeholder-attorney situation in Opinion 524, 113 N.J.L.J. 232 (1984). Our opinion in that matter referred, among others, to Opinion 291, 97 N.J.L.J. 801 (1974). Opinion 291 was reviewed and upheld by our Supreme Court in Higgins et al. v. The Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics, et al., 73 N.J. 124 (1977).
Consistent with the principles set forth in these opinions, it is determined that:
1. An elected Freeholder-attorney may not serve as a public defender for a municipality within the county.