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                                         113 N.J.L.J. 544
                                        May 17, 1984


Appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court


Marketing of Card
Advising of "Miranda" Rights

    The inquirer states that he has invented and copyrighted a card which could be delivered to persons charged with criminal offenses apprising them of their Miranda rights. He characterizes the card as "the Miranda card". He desires to market the card by setting up a separate business corporation which will distribute it throughout the nation. The inquirer's card submitted to us has his name on it. It is not clear whether, when he markets the card, the inquirer's name will be on it, but certainly the name and address of the separate business entity that will handle it, will be. The inquirer states that he considers this unique and something never done before.
    He poses five questions:
    1.    Would it be appropriate to set up a separate business to market the card?

    2.    If it is not appropriate to set up such business, could he market the card as a lawyer?

    3.    If a separate business were set up, would the marketing constitute the "unlicensed" practice of law?

    4.    Assuming the business is set up and kept separate and apart from his legal business, would there be a conflict of interest if he were serving as a prosecutor for a municipality?

    5.    If it is acceptable to market the card as a lawyer, would there be a conflict if the lawyer served as prosecutor of a local municipality?

    There is no need to answer the questions seriatim. Counsel refers to DR2-102 (D) as authority for a lawyer engaging in a business other than the legal profession as long as the business is separate from his professional life. The quoted section merely states that a lawyer shall not, if in another business or profession, so indicate on the stationery or business card or in any publication. The cited section is clear authority for the proposition that he may not market the card as a lawyer. There is no prohibition against his creating another business to market the card if he so desires but that business and his law office must be kept entirely separate.
    It seems to us that, if he does pursue the business of marketing the Miranda card through a separate business entity, this action would be incompatible with his acting as a municipal prosecutor. Since he is the sole owner of the business, it is his alter ego and in the minds of the general public, the two positions would be inseparable. An anomalous situation would arise if a person were arrested in a municipality in which the inquirer was the municipal prosecutor and the individual arrested were to hand the arresting officer the Miranda card.
    The Supreme Court in Higgins v. Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics, 73 N.J. 123, 129 (1977), stated that the appearance of impropriety must be reasonable rather than fanciful and that there must be some reasonable basis for the perception that impropriety exists. We think that in the situation posited here there would be a real perception on the part of the general public of impropriety.
    If the inquirer pursues his desire to publish the Miranda card, we believe this would preclude his being a municipal prosecutor.

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