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                                         100 N.J.L.J. 415
                                        May 12, 1977


Appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court


Conflict of Interest
Prosecuting Attorney -
Mother, Juvenile Court Clerk

    An assistant county prosecutor has been assigned to the prosecutor's child support and paternity unit provided under Title IV D of the Social Security Act. In the course of prosecuting charges against absconding fathers, he must appear before the county juvenile and domestic relations court of which his mother is chief clerk.
    This situation is similar to New Jersey Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics Opinion 171 where an attorney appeared in county criminal courts and the juvenile and domestic relations court when his mother was employed as secretary to the chief probation officer of the county. In the instant situation, the assistant prosecutor's mother has been a clerk of the court since 1957, having formerly served as court attendant since 1948; and she has been chief clerk since 1976, handling the administrative supervision of the court and being the official custodian of the court records.
    Generally the role of the prosecutor relates only to adult matters and does not involve juvenile proceedings where confidentiality of court records might be a consideration. Insofar as this prosecutor is only prosecuting absconding fathers, it appears that his presentations in court would not constitute an actual or apparent conflict of interest or convey the appearance of impropriety. The mere existence of the relationship does not indicate any improper effect on the judicial process. See DR 9-101.

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