February 1, 2013
A Case Of First Impression
In a case of first impression, the Nebraska Supreme Court has imposed a public reprimand that is intended to "serve as a warning to all members of the Nebraska bar that this court will not ignore or acquiesce in public conduct of [the] nature" involved in the case.
The matter arose from the attorney's conviction at a bench trial of third degree sexual assault and public indecency. The assault conviction was reversed on appeal; the indecency conviction was affirmed. JournalStar.com had this report.
The conduct took place in a remote, wooded area of a Lincoln park. The other participant was an adult undercover police officer. The officer thought the attorney had signaled to him and they had a conversation. They went deeper into the woods and had a voluntary encounter. No one else saw what took place between the two.
The attorney has not practiced since the 2010 incident.
The court rejected the attorney's argument that the "lewd" conduct did not adversely reflect on his fitness to practice law and was thus not sanctionable.
The court also declined to impose a private reprimand to deter such conduct.
There was substantial mitigating evidence regarding his good character from the attorney's community. The court noted that he has played the organ in church for forty years.
To be clear: It appears that Nebraska has imposed discipline for a consensual sex act between adults with no commercial aspect because it took place in a public area (though remote and seen by no one else). (Mike Frisch)
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