123 N.J.L.J. 991
April 20, 1989
Revelation of Possible
Criminal Violation in
Solicitation of Business for Client
This inquiry asks us to rule on the propriety of an attorney sending a letter on behalf of a client inviting the recipient to subscribe to the client's cable television service into which the recipient has tapped without contract or payment. The letter in question would advise the recipient that the acquisition or use of said service without payment may subject the individual to a conviction under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-8(e), which is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.00.
This Committee will not render opinions on the form and content of proposed correspondence. However, it will address questions of propriety in the practice of law.
The following questions have been raised:
(1) Is reference to a possible conviction of a criminal offense an improper coercive means of securing a benefit for one's client, RPC 1.2(d); prejudicial to the administration of justice, RPC 8.4(d); or the use of a false statement or failure to disclose a material fact to a third person, RPC 4.1(a)(1) and (2)?
(2) Does such a letter constitute a means to embarrass or burden a third person in violation of RPC 4.4 or to obtain an improper advantage for one's client in a civil matter? See Opinion 551, 115 N.J.L.J. 96 (1985).