96 N.J.L.J. 1373
December 6, 1973
Defending Accused Jail Guard
An inquiry by a county counsel has been addressed to this
Committee. A jail guard in one of the county jails has been named
as defendant in a complaint filed in a municipal court by a party
arrested and brought to the county jail. The complaint alleges that
the jail guard committed an assault and battery upon the arrested
party. The action of the jail guard was in the course of his
employment by the county. The inquirer has advised the board of
freeholders that in his opinion the county owed the jail guard a
legal defense in the matter of the complaint and because of our
Opinion 106, 90 N.J.L.J. 97 (1967), outside counsel selected by the
jail guard has been retained by the board of freeholders to
represent the jail guard.
The inquiry is whether the county counsel may represent the jail guard or whether outside county counsel must be secured. In our opinion, the county counsel or his assistant cannot appear on behalf of the defendant jail guard in a criminal proceeding, but outside attorney should be engaged.