Is a Judge asking in open court defense attorney and the prosecutor to lunch to discuss case unethical?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is a Judge asking in open court defense attorney and the prosecutor to lunch to discuss case unethical?

My husbands attorney and the prosecutor went to lunch to discuss case. Is this unethical?

Asked on September 17, 2017 under Criminal Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not improper so long as he brought both sides in for the discussion: judges may--and often do--"conference" with lawyers for both sides to discuss issues in the case, possibly resolving it via a plea or settlement, etc. The judge cannot favor one side over the other, but may meet with the two lawyers for this reason. While the conference is typically done in the judge's chambers, there is no ethical or legal reason why the discussion cannot be held over lunch.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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