Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 80

Adopted October 26, 1934

The Board is in receipt of the following inquiry:

“In Rule 11 of the rules of professional conduct it is provided that ‘a lawyer should not in any manner communicate upon the subject of controversy with a party represented by counsel.’

Does this rule apply to county attorneys? Should a county attorney undertake to persuade a defendant to plead guilty, when he knows that this defendant is represented by counsel?”

In response:

Rule eleven applies to all members of The State Bar including county attorneys. A county attorney violates its provisions when he communicates with a defendant, in the absence of the defendant’s counsel or without counsel’s express consent, as to any matters involved in the charges against the defendant.

See Advisory Opinion Number Nine where Rule 21 was held applicable to county attorneys.