The story “Ethics panel rules on rentals” [News column, Feb. 19] should be no surprise to anyone. The Suffolk County Board of Ethics determined that it is a violation of ethics law for an assistant district attorney to rent out a boat or other property to defense attorneys who have or have had criminal cases with the prosecutor.

The fact that an ethics ruling was even necessary on conduct that clearly presents such a glaring appearance of impropriety is quite disturbing. Moreover, the fact that there are those who defend the conduct as business as usual in the Suffolk County legal community demonstrates a culture that fails to comprehend and appreciate the scope and level of ethics required of all public officials.

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This culture, which has developed and prospered over generations, must end. It’s time we reset the compass on ethics in Suffolk County.

Robert Biancavilla, Hauppauge

Editor’s note: The writer is the deputy bureau chief in the homicide bureau of the Suffolk County district attorney’s office.