OPINION 125
March 1956

RETIREMENT FROM JUDICIAL POSITION -- PRIVATE PRACTICE BY JUSTICE OF PEACE -- A justice of the peace should not act as an advocate either in civil or criminal proceedings which arise in his court or other courts.

Canon 33.

Questions

Would it be a violation of the Canons of Ethics for a justice of the peace to

1. Practice in civil and criminal cases which originated in his own court or other courts of the same precinct;

2. Practice in criminal and civil cases before other justices of the peace courts in the same precinct; and

3. Practice in criminal cases in district and county courts where the cases originated in said court?

Opinion

The committee is unanimous in the following opinions:

1. It is improper for a justice of the peace to participate in any case which originated in his court or any other justice of the peace court. Reference is made to Opinion 16 of this committee rendered in 1948.

2. It is improper for a justice of the peace to practice in other justice of the peace courts.

3. It is improper or "unwise" for a justice of the peace to defend criminal cases in any court regardless of where the case originated.

Two members of the committee expressed themselves as feeling that "one cannot consistently sit in justice on criminals in one court and represent criminals in another court and at the same time serve the best interests of the state in law enforcement."(8-0)