The City of St. Augustine Charter of 1925 provides that the City Commission shall appoint a City Attorney to act as the legal adviser to, and attorney and counselor for, the municipality and all of its officers in matters relating to their official duties. Our City Attorney is Isabelle C. Lopez.
As the city attorney, Ms. Lopez provides the City Commission, its boards and committees, as well as, City staff, with a wide range of legal representation on issues ranging from contracts to constitutional law. The City Attorney attends all meetings of the City Commission, Planning and Zoning Board, Historic Architectural Review Board, Code Enforcement, Adjustments and Appeals Board, and Community Redevelopment Agency. The City Attorney also prosecutes criminal and non-criminal City ordinance violations in the County Court system.
If you are planning to attend a public hearing at the City, you may want to read these frequently asked questions beforehand. (FAQ's)
Please remember that we value everyone's input and ask that you participate with civility in conformance with Resolution 2015-36.
Resolution 2016-47 provides that the City Attorney may hire outside counsel from time-to-time to assist her in the representaton of the City's legal interest. This resolution, known as the reorganizational resolution, is re-adopted every two years after each election, and also contains the procedural rules of meetings.
The City Attorney is assisted by the Assistant City Attorney, Denise May. The Assistant City Attorney serves as primary advisor to the St. Augustine Police Department, Code Enforcement Board, Planning & Building Department, and city staff. In matters of prosecuting criminal and civil violations of municipal ordinances, the Assistant City Attorney is responsible for the entire process - from drafting motions and representing the City at trial, to filing post-trial motions and appeals.
The City Attorney can only represent and advise the City of St. Augustine government. The City Attorney cannot provide residents or other private citizens with legal advice and representation.
Use of the City Seal is prohibited without the consent and written authorization of the City Commission pursuant to section 2-1 of the city code. Further, unauthorized use is punishable under Florida Statute 165.043 as a second degree misdemeanor.
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We hope that the information found here will help you understand the role of the City Attorney, and navigate links to the City Charter, City Code and other federal, state and local agencies that can provide you with more legal information.
Office Hours: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday - Friday
Mailing Address: P. O. Box 210, St. Augustine, FL 32085-0210
For general inquiries, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Members of the Public:The City Attorney cannot represent you personally. If you are in need of legal representation, please retain private counsel. The Florida Bar provides a referral service at (850)561-5600 or visit their web site at www.flabar.org. You can also visit the Jacksonville Area Legal Services web site, or the local office of St. Johns County Legal Aid at 222 San Marco Avenue, St. Augustine, FL 32084. They can be reached at (904) 827-9921 or (877) 827-9921 toll-free.
For Attorneys:Attorneys are expected to comply with Florida Bar Rules of Professional Conduct 4-4.2
“In the case of a represented organization, this rule prohibits communications with a constituent of the organization who supervises, directs, or regularly consults with the organization's lawyer concerning the matter or has authority to obligate the organization with respect to the matter or whose act or omission in connection with the matter may be imputed to the organization for purposes of civil or criminal liability (…) In communication with a current or former constituent of an organization, a lawyer must not use methods of obtaining evidence that violate the legal rights of the organization. See rule 4-4.4.”