Risk Update

Relationship Conflicts — Girlfriends Edition

Nebraska Lawyer Who Helped Girlfriend With Case Gets Reprimand” —

  • “A Nebraska county attorney who prepared legal documents for his girlfriend relating to her firing from a job at the county sheriff’s office without initially indicating his involvement in the case was publicly reprimanded by the state’s highest court.”
  • “Brandon B. Hanson was working as county attorney for Valley County in 2018 when his girlfriend was fired from her job. Soon after, she filed a suit against someone who commented on social media that she was dismissed for being drunk at work.The comment came from a supporter of Hanson’s rival for the county attorney seat.”
  • “The case was the first in which Nebraska’s Supreme Court had to rule on a violation of a local rule requiring a ‘Prepared By’ notation on court filings worked on by an attorney, so it had ‘no comparative cases’ to help determine a sanction, it said in its April 17 opinion.”
  • “Hanson’s rival filed a grievance with the state disciplinary board alleging that Hanson had prepared pleadings for his girlfriend without including the required notation. His involvement in her case was also a conflict of interest with his position as the Valley County Attorney, the rival said.”

Convicted murderer to get new hearing since his trial lawyer started dating, later married, state witness” —

  • “A convicted murderer that that has been in prison for six-and-a-half years will get a new evidentiary hearing after he won an appeal that says the timeline of the romantic relationship between his trial lawyer and a witness needs to be explored further.”
  • “Furthermore, the three judges ruled that an evidentiary hearing is necessary to determine if there was in fact a conflict of interest for Rubas… ‘“There is no sworn information as to that alleged fact and, to date, defendant has not had an opportunity to cross-examine his trial counsel or others with relevant information. We also reject the fixation on the first date or the notion that the first date is the critical date in considering when the conflict arose. The relationship or communications leading up to the relationship may have commenced earlier.'”