Friday, August 22, 2014
The Nebraska Supreme Court imposed an 18-month suspension of a former county attorney convicted of misconduct in office.
The same court had previously reversed the criminal conviction
As the Keith County Attorney, John Blake Edwards established a pretrial diversion program. After an audit by Nebraska's state auditor and an investigation by the Nebraska State Patrol, Edwards was charged with three counts of theft by unlawful taking for checks written from diversion program funds. Edwards was acquitted by a jury of two of the theft counts and convicted of the third, which was based on a check he wrote on a diversion program account to a local trapshooting team (trap team). He was sentenced to probation. Edwards appeals. We find plain error in the jury instructions, and therefore, we reverse, and remand for a new trial.
The attorney pleaded guilty to a single count of official misconduct after the remand.
Because the attorney was suspended on an interim basis, he has fully served the suspension. The effect of the decision here is to automatically reinstate him to practice. (Mike Frisch)