Nebraska's Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the State Legislature's 25-22 vote impeaching a constitutional officer. The impeachment conviction is the second in Nebraska history, and the first since 1871.
David A Domina and Domina Law Group pc llo were engaged to prepare Articles of Impeachments and try the historic case for the Nebraska Legislature. In Nebraska, impeachment occurs by majority legislative vote. Trial is before the State Supreme Court sitting as a Court of Impeachment. Domina, Claudia Stringfield Johnson, and all the law firm's personnel in some capacity, worked on the case which was required by the Constitution to be tried "expeditiously".
The Legislature impeached University Regent C David Hergert for election fraud on April 12, 2006. Extensive briefs and motions were argued May 3rd. Trial commenced May 8th. The Supreme Court decided the case 7 weeks after trial concluded with a unanimous 25 page opinion.
"Hergert's various explanations for his actions contradict one another and are not believable when the clear and convincing evidence before this court is considered," the court said in its per curium ruling.
Hergert exceeded a voluntary state cap on campaign spending but missed a deadline to notify officials, depriving incumbent opponent Don Blank of $15,000 in matching funds in the closing days of the campaign. Hergert spent much of his money on advertising that attacked Blank.
After the election, Hergert reported spending nearly $90,000 on the campaign _ more than twice his estimate.
The Supreme Court's historic opinion reflects Domina Law Group pc llo's work throughout its thoughtful analysis. It clarifies the law by holding that election fraud can lead to impeachment, even if the one who commits fraud is not in office when it occurs.
Senators Ernie Chambers and Chris Beutler, appointed as Case Managers by the Legislature to oversee Domina Law Group pc llo's work were pleased election laws were enforced and Hergert, who Chambers said lied to win election, was barred from office. Both Senators were instrumental in the impeachment, which was adopted by a bare minimum number of required votes. The Supreme Court's unanimous opinion "vindicated the senators who voted for impeachment" said Senator Chambers. The opinion "plugs some holes" in state election laws according to Senator Beutler.
David Domina, who prosecuted the case, said the ruling fulfilled the Legislature's wishes to unseat Hergert and "establish that election fraud will not be tolerated." Hergert was removed from office immediately and barred from ever holding public office again.
Gov. Dave Heineman will name Hergert's replacement to serve until an election is held to fill Hergert's remaining term.
July 10, 2006
David A. Domina
Domina Law Group pc llo is a firm of trial lawyers. We specialize in complex litigation on a national basis. Our lawyers are ethical, aggressive, and committed to providing spirit and vitality to the judicial system and our client’s legal rights.