Committee Reports

Amicus Brief in People v. Addimando: Appellate Division, Second Department


The Professional Ethics Committee submitted an amicus brief in the Appellate Division, Second Department matter of People v. Addimando. In the appellant’s criminal trial, the County Court of Dutchess County disqualified defense counsel on the grounds that its prior representation of a potential witness created a conflict of interest. The City Bar’s brief argues that the Court misapplied the New York Rules of Professional Conduct governing attorneys’ ethical obligations when representing clients. The trial court failed to appreciate that the rules of professional conduct distinguish between duties that attorneys owe to current clients and those that attorneys owe to former clients. By that token, no conflict of interest existed between the duties of defense counsel to its current client, Ms. Addimando, and its duties to the potential witness as a former client. Rigorous and consistent application of the professional rules is necessary in order to preserve the right of defendants to representation by the counsel of their choice, and in order to provide the legal profession with coherent standards of conduct.


“As amicus curae, NYCBA seeks to assist the Court by supplementing Appellant’s legal arguments with the policies underpinning the New York Rules of Professional Conduct and the significant policy implications to the lower court’s improper application of the ethics rules governing conflicts of interest that resulted in the disqualification of Ms. Addimando’s original lawyer.”

See PDF attachment for full Notice, Affirmation and Brief