Ethics Opinion 229

By Committee on Professional Ethics

NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
Committee on Professional Ethics

Opinion #229 – 02/25/1972 (8-72)

Topic: Comment to News Media on Pending Criminal Litigation
Digest: A lawyer should limit his comments concerning pending criminal litigation to the public record
Code: Canon 7; DR 7-107

QUESTION

May a lawyer comment to the press on a pending motion to disqualify a grand jury which has indicted his client?

OPINION

A lawyer should represent his client zealously, within the bounds of the law, including the questioning of any impropriety within the judicial system. Canon 7. However, such representation should occur within the court room and not in the newspaper.It is better to avoid any ex-parte statement even in extreme cases. Drinker, Legal Ethics 70 (1953).A lawyer or law firm associated with the prosecution or defense of a criminal matter shall not make or participate in making an extra judicial statement that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by means of public communication that relates to issues of the case, except that he may quote from or refer without comment to public records of the court in the case. DR 7-107.

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