OPINION 312
January 1966

CONFLICT OF INTEREST PROSECUTING ATTORNEY REPRESENTING POLICEMAN IN CIVIL SUIT It is unethical for a prosecuting attorney to represent a police officer in a civil action for overtime wages when his duty might require investigation or prosecution of a criminal action arising out of the same facts.

Canon 6.

Question

Articles 1583 and 1583-1 of the Penal Code prescribe minimum working hours for policemen in cities of certain classes, require payment of overtime wages, and provide that the city official in charge of the police department who violates the Act shall be fined not less than $10 and not more than $100 for each day. Would it be unethical for a prosecuting attorney to represent a city policeman in a civil action against the City for overtime wages under these Articles?

Opinion

Assuming that the prosecuting attorney's duty might require investigation or prosecution of a criminal action under these statutes, it is this committee's opinion that his representation of the police officer in the civil action for overtime wages would involve a conflict of interests in violation of Canon 6. See Opinions 109 (January, 1955) and 143 (March, 1957).

(We assume that the "prosecuting" attorney is not the City Attorney, who would have an obvious conflict regardless of the criminal action.) (9-0.)