Thursday, September 23, 2021
The Nevada Supreme Court has held that the doctrine of qualified immunity does not preclude the State Bar from seeking and the court imposing professional discipline on an elected official.
The matter involves the duly elected District Attorney of Nye County, who was the subject of a disciplinary complaint alleging a conflict of interest in dealing with the complaint of a dismissed subordinate.
The accused attorney had terminated an assistant district attorney allegedly for poor performance. The assistant appealed the termination and claimed it was retaliation for an attempt to unionize the ADAs.
A scheduled hearing on the termination was cancelled after he gave the county resources director ex parte legal advice that the assistant was an "at will" employee.
The terminated assistant filed the bar complaint.
The alleged misconduct involved the accused attorney's conflict of interest in giving that advice.
A disciplinary hearing panel found the violation by a 2-1 vote and recommended a reprimand.
The court affirmed the reprimand.
Justice Pickering concurred on the qualified immunity issue but dissented on the sanction.
The case is In the Matter of Discipline of Christopher Arabia. (Mike Frisch)